I think you may be on to something, Doc.
With Jason Bay, they could have signed him anytime at market price just by picking up the phone. They never did. Turns out they were working Silva-for-MB.
Same thing applies now to Washburn. If they want him, they can make the call any time and get him for fair market value. But they haven't yet.
That does make me think that they are waiting on something -- perhaps it's Bedard's medical progress. Erik Bedard as your #3 in the fall has a lot of appeal.
... is the latest on what Beane gave Ben Sheets. Remember that incentives can't be tied to quality of performance -- only to the amount of time spent on the field.
So, Sheets' $3.5m in incentives are going to be tethered to milestones at (say) 150, 170, 190 IP. He makes $13.5m if he can go 30 starts, and is guaranteed $10m if he doesn't make any starts.
SSI always has a lot of fun when the best-informed, most sabr-literate GM's in the game do the opposite of what the internet concludes is correct. :- ) There are a lot of moving parts in real life, and when my or anybody else's best guess turns out to be on the wrong continent, it's a great learning opportunity.
Rich Harden also got a nice contract, essentially 2/$22m if he stays on the field, and personally I would interpret this as answered in the question "What's He Worth In $260 Roto."
Sheets and Harden are difference-makers, guys who turn around division races. It is worth a coin flip in view of the payoff, even when the coin flip costs you $10m.
If the coin comes up heads, your payoff may be along the lines of $50m, including performance, playoff money, etc etc. If you are betting $10m to make $30-$50m, what odds do you need?
$10.0m / $13.5m occurs in view of Oakland's $62m club payroll last year. to Billy Beane, that's the equivalent of our spending $16 - $22m on Ben Sheets this season. Coming off 0 (zero) innings pitched last year.
Obviously there is a case to be made that Sheets, Harden, and Erikkk Bedard are worth more than they get credit for. Roto experts understand why; all of these three pitchers, if throwing decently in March, will be taken among the top 20-30 starters in the AL. (With Bedard, of course, the timeline is different.)
If Bedard's med reports are decent at all, the M's ought to be exploiting their connection to him. Considering the way they have supported him in his rehab thus far, our guess is that they are in fact positioning themselves to do this. That would explain the lack of news on Bedard this winter. Maybe the M's are saying, "Hey, Erik, relax, get yourself right, and when you think you're ready, we'll give you $400k, 500k a start in 2010. Then you can set yourself up for 2011." I can hope, right : - )
Bedard averaged 9.8 strikeouts per game in 2009 with a shredded arm.
If the Rangers get Harden, and the A's get Sheets, the M's ought to be working on canceling those moves with Erikkkkk. When he's on the mound, he's 10 K's standin' still.
I think you may be on to something, Doc.
Interesting to bring up Bedard.
Consider the reality of looking 3 moves ahead. You ALREADY have a relationship with Bedard, who has pitched well for the team, but has been hurt. You have some feel for his desire to stick around. Let's say Bedard, (from the get-go), has been your plan to fill out the rotation -- but, you know he's more likely to be a 2nd half guy.
Let's also assume you have a BUNCH of young, unknown arms, which you can juggle for a couple of months, and during that time, figure out which one(s) are fodder, and which ones are good.
If you DON'T sign that "extra arm", then you get a better chance to examine the pack of unknowns for 1/2 a season - and THEN bring in Bedard for the 2nd half, (w/o having to trade specs to get him). So, assuming Felix, Lee, RRS, Snell, (???) as the rotation, you get to see Snell, RRS and the current crop of wannabes until Bedard is ready. They "get a chance" to prove themselves. In (June?) Bedard steps in for whichever is the weakest performer. Could be the F-troop in the #5 slot (Fister, French, Fodder) -- or maybe it's RRS or Snell that flops.
When you've lost 100, the last thing you need is stability. When you've won 85, then you NEED to foster a "sense" of stability as you attempt to move forward.
Branyan, Bedard and even Wash could all help create a foundation of stability the organization needs in order to move forward "effectively". I believe that the pack mentality of wanting the next shiniest thing "out there" can EASILY turn into a self-defeating process.
I think Z understands this dynamic, which is why he commented on the growing stability for the team moving ahead.
We hear a lot about how sympathetically and consistently they're supporting him. They're not *acting* as though they've lost interest.
Combine this with the fact that Bedard himself is keeping a low profile, and it almost makes you wonder whether they've got an understanding there.
Jim Street represents the conventional wisdom inside the org at its most conventional. And he is so down on Bedard that not only does he say no way he's coming back, but he takes a gratuitous potshot at him in the last question about Felix or Lee starting on Opening Day: http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100125&content_id...
I always got the vibe that a fair number of the insiders thought Bedard was strange and untrustworthy, and just plain disliked him (there were plenty of sources saying Bedard was not forthcoming to the team about how bad his arm was), but that doesn't mean it extends to Z and Wak.
Stone today with a shot that the M's 'took it on the chin' paying Bedard $15m for 30 starts... whereas that's about what he earned in those 30 starts.
There is definitely a segment of the media that would simply love to see Bedard get lost.
Their campaigning to the Head Honcho to get rid of a great player, because that great player would prefer that the press ignore him, boy that's real professional, ain't it?
Am hopeful that Z and Wok aren't in that camp; they're pros and used to dealing with high-maintenance athletes (if that's what Bedard is). Certainly the M's seem to be acting as though Bedard does not alienate them on a personal level.
When Bedard is on the field, his K/BB/HR stats are not dissimilar to those of Randy Johnson. Bedard is, when he's on the mound, a reasonable facsimile of the Big Unit. You're not going to get much closer than Bedard does, fastball-slider-see-you-later.
There is a real shortage of 10K lefthand starters in baseball, and an even worse shortage of 10K lefties who love to destroy the New York Yankees.
This makes passing on Harden look worse.. He wanted to come over here so I'm guessing if the Ms matched or went close to that deal they could have gotten him.
Maybe Z has another trade up his sleaves. Or maybe Washburn comes over really cheap.
I'll jump on this bandwaggon a little late. I get the sense that the M's are holding Bedard's hand right now and he gets the majority of his morral support by way of the M's.