Mariners Analysis

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yes, Bedard would make the team better

It's funny, as we all wait for something to happen, sometimes both sides of an argument talk so much they forget what the other is saying. In this case, the Pro-Bedard folks start believing the anti-Bedard-at-any-cost folks don't like Bedard.

Nothing could be farther from the case. I have never seen ONE coherent argument that Bedard doesn't make the M's better. He does. If you just throw Bedard onto the team and he didn't cost you anything, the team is much, much better. No one has ever argued otherwise.

Where the disagreement comes in is simply cost.

Over at Geoff Baker's excellent blog he now tries to argue innings make the difference and how the team will be better at having a staff go deep into a game.

I find this argument a case of overthinking. You are so wed to your idea you start trying to argue the same point over and over with just slight variations.

What Geoff is really saying is innings come from good pitchers. The better the pitcher, the longer you want them in the game. This is a talent issue. The other factor is health. You want them on the field, not on the trainers table. What Geoff is saying is he wants talented, healthy pitchers to make up the M's starting rotation. Surely no one would argue otherwise.

When you look back on last years roster, Ramirez and Weaver were two of the worst pitchers in baseball. If you read blogs at all last year you can find many, many stories of wanting to cut bait on both in June of last year. We know what happened instead.

So I think it's a little too simplistic to look at innings totals last year and then try to justify a trade-at-any-cost acquisition based on that number. Of course you have no where to go but up when you have a Ramirez on the team, and if inning totals mattered as much as some would have you believe Ryan Franklin would still be pitching as a Mariner.

Talent wins games. If you want your pitcher to go 7+ innings all the time, he'd better be giving your team a chance to win and talent decides that over the course of a season. The reason a Washburn can't pitch 8 innings every night isn't a mystery. He 's just an ok pitcher, he's not an ace and he's not a top-10 league ERA pitcher. He is what he is. A $37 million pitcher who hits a wall after 90 innings.

Bedard is an excellent pitcher, but the Orioles want a lot for him. Right now it's hard to see the team being much better than 80-85 wins, so it's asking a lot to expect Bedard to make up the 10-15 more it normally takes to win the division.

I don't care how many innings he pitches.