Prepping for Vegas ….

The more I think about it, the more I believe Omar Minaya is playing this closer hand the right way. Patience is the way to go.

The Mets are the contender in the most dire need of a closer, so they’ll market. The asking price for Francisco Rodriguez should go down from the original five years at $75 million. If that’s the guy they really want, having Brian Fuentes on the market (there doesn’t seem to be a line outside his door) should keep Rodriguez’s salary in line, more like three years.

I believe the Mets will come away with a closer, but it makes no sense to throw out huge bids right now when the market isn’t even set.

54 thoughts on “Prepping for Vegas ….

  1. I know it’s a risk but the more time I have to think about it, the more I want Kerry Wood.

    Unless the Mets nab JJ Putz, who actually would be my top choice, they should try and swing a trade for Street, plug him into the 8th and then see if Wood would bite on a two-year deal or maybe a two with an option for a third.

    Fuentes is 33, K-Rod has question marks. Wood has his injury history, but outside of a blister, he was fine last year and he has the nastiest stuff of the three. Plus, if you swing a deal for Street, which should be possible, you have a backup in case Wood does go down.

    Costs less and the upside is higher, IMO.

  2. Where Minaya really has his work cut out for him is the rotation. Burnett is going to get a ridiculous contract, which is going to make Perez’s demands all the more inane, and Derek Lowe is probably going to end up back in Boston, unless a team really shows him the money.

    This is not going to be easy, particularly if Sabathia signs with someone other than the Yankees. They will then have a hand in every decent starter out there on the market.

    I was, and still am to a certain point, against signing Jon Garland because I think he’s just a younger and slightly better version of Steve Trachsel, but if the demands for others becomes outrageous and Garland can be had for something reasonable, it might make sense to grab him for the innings he’ll provide. Then sign a Randy Wolf or even re-up Pedro for the back-end, plus you’ll have Niese and Figeuroa as insurance.

    It’s not sexy, but unless Perez is re-signed, I don’t see the Mets getting Lowe.

  3. I really think that filling out the rotation is the biggest problem that Omar has … Niese is just not ready and Figeuroa is not very good … I agree that Lowe is going back to Boston an if CC does not sign with the Yankees, it will be that much worse …. I waffle on Pedro — my heart says bring him back but my head says that he is done and we would only have a 5-inning pitcher … another one that will drain the bullpen.

    And frankly, we all seem to just accept both Pelfrey and Maine as givens after Johan …. what if Pelfrey regresses and what if Maine is not 100% healthy after his surgery? And, even if Maine is healthy, will he still be at 100+ pitches after 5 innings like he was so many times last season?

    I cannot comment on Garland — I just don’t know enough about him, but if you are correct, then a Garland/Niese at #4/#5 in the rotation will not be good …. and given that you almost need to really have a pool of 7 or 8 starterts to draw on over the course of the season given injuries, unscheduled double-headers, etc., I would say that the Mets are awfully thin at SP.

  4. They have their work cut out for them in the rotation. Maine’s surgery was nothing major at all, but it was a surgery.

    Pelfrey. Who knows? I don’t think he’s going to be a bad pitcher by any means, but will he be the guy we saw from mid-June onward?

    I only named Figueroa and Niese because those are the first two that came to mind, but hopefully some non-tenders that are attractive could be had. I did see that Seattle *might* non-tender Erik Bedard..and intriguing option who may sign for relatively cheap if he wants to go back onto the market next year.

  5. Any way you slice it the Mets missed the boat sort of speak. I think the Mets will win less games in 2009 than the past two years. The first thing Omar said was to build a farm system. I’m still waiting Omar.

  6. John

    I agree. Waiting can be a good thing.

    what was that proverb? Good things come to those who wait.

    We apparently are not going after CC and it appears a lot of teams like Lowe because he is healthy and gives you innings.

    So either we go hard after Lowe or we trade or get a lower pitcher – not one of the injury plagued FA please.

    the relievers – there are many out there gives us options. If we cannot get KRod for 3 years at whatever we go get Wood. either way we need at least 2 quality back end ppl.

    then we can fool around with the other stuff.

  7. I think Pelf is the real deal. Every year he has been getting better. Even two years ago when he was getting blown out he felt confident. In september he actually won a game or two.

    Last year he came into his own. He became the #2 pitcher on this team after many wanted to kill him the previous year.

    He may not win 20 games this year, but I expect him to win more than the 13 he did last year because he is confident he can pitch.

    Maine is a question mark. I hope he is healed and can figure out how to be more efficient.

    Then we have 2 spots to fill where there are not a lot of good options.

    If we get someone like Lowe, I would feel good as we can slap something together for the last slot.

    If not it will be a crapshoot.

  8. Mr Met: I was big on trading for Putz as well, but what I didn’t realize is that he will be 32 years old in February. I thought he was much younger. Plus he’s coming off a subpar season and injuries. I’m not sure he is the guy either. The more and more I think about it, the more I am convinced that K-Rod is the guy to sign at this point, even though I know he can breakdown at this point. There’s much more risk IMO with Fuentes or Putz.

  9. Replies to #4-#7 … I believe Pelfrey will be OK as well, but what if he is not? I am not concerned about Maine’s surgery so much as the strain he has been know to put on a bullpen by his constant 5 or so inning games with 100+ pitches …

    I am not at all sold on Niese and believe that relying on him for 2009 is a big mistake.

    Lowe would be ideal — under the right circumstaces — but $16M for 4 or 5 years are not the right circumstances in my opinion.

    I really believe that the Mets need a lot of work … offensively, I assume Reyes, Wright and Beltran are consistent with past performance and that Church rebounds … but, I cannot see Delgado duplicating his 2008 season, Castillo continuing to be a slug, Tatis/Murphy being mediocre as a corner “power” position and Schneider being just average at best.

    Many believe the offense is fine becasue of the 799 runs in 2008 — I think the 2009 offense will be mediocre without some drastic changes.

    The bullpen is a mess ans needs to be addressed with a close, an 8th inning bridge guy and at least one other quality arm … the Mets apparent process of looking for low-cost alternatives for the pen has blown-up for two years so why should it be any different in 2009?

    I apologize for rambling — but I am frustrated that with so much to do, nothing has been done …

  10. rocksolid (3): The ifs you describe about Pelfrey and Maine are reasons why a strong organization has depth, which is what this organization lacks at most positions. Say you are 100% right about Niese and Figueroa, which I think you are, they do one thing, if Minaya has a 5 man rotation without them, that is it builds the depth a bit for injuries and sub par performers. I don’t mind Fig or Niese or both as part time call ups and maybe Niese eventually in the rotation. If they start in April, expect a long year. If he finds a replacmeent for Perez worse than Perez that is another bad sign.
    As for the pen, of course he’s going to get a closer. The question for Met fans is will he get the best out there or will he penny pinch and get second or third rate despite the Wilpon’s money making SNY, new stadium, 20 mil per year for a sign on the door; etc….

  11. Harry (10) … we agree.

    Especially on “… if Minaya has a 5 man rotation without them, that is it builds the depth a bit for injuries and sub par performers. I don’t mind Fig or Niese or both as part time call ups and maybe Niese eventually in the rotation. If they start in April, expect a long year. If he finds a replacmeent for Perez worse than Perez that is another bad sign …”

    And my comments on Pelfrey and Maine were “ifs” and appreciate you recognizing that … legitimate ones IMO which further point to the need to get this rotation in order.

  12. (9) I agree, but you’re starting to see some moves, so hopefully the Mets follow suit.

    Pelfrey will be fine, the big issue is the jump in innings so we just have to hope he stays healthy or doesn’t tire out earlier this year because of the mega-jump in ’08. Personally, I think he’s going to be fine and a solid pitcher for the Mets.

    I’m more concerned about Maine’s performances from ’08 carrying over than I am about the surgery. Now, a surgery is a surgery, you’re being cut open or scoped, in this case, but it was only to shave down a bone-spur, so it’s nothing structural. Who knows, it may have been affecting him all season and only started to actually “hurt” in July when he began to miss starts.

    Jon Niese cannot be counted on in any way. But he can be a no. 5 guy or depth at AAA where he can continue to refine things. But that is contingent on the Mets signing a decent guy to plug in. Honestly, if they don’t get Perez back, they are going to have to go the trade route or beef up the bullpen to an extraordinary level while having a mediocre back-end of the rotation, a la 2006.

    The bullpen, IMO, is probably the easiest thing to fix this offseason. There are a multitude of options available. The Mets just need to make the right moves. Again, I would seriously consider Kerry Wood.

    Offensively, there are question marks. Personally, I think Church will be a solid player. He was horrendous when he returned for good in August, but I heard nothing of any more lasting effects…so I’m hoping it was just the whole issue of being gone for so long.

    While I wouldn’t expect Delgado to go 38/115, I do think a .265 30 100 line is reasonable…and he is in his walk-year too. My main concern is the lack of a run-producing RH bat. I love Murphy and I love Tatis, but IMO, a platoon of them in LF, coupled with an offensively inept C, a HUGE question mark at 2B and another decent-sized question mark in RF makes it very, very risky to depend on enough offense coming from elsewhere.

  13. (9) (12)

    If Pelf fails we are in trouble. As I said he was our #2 last year. Maine was hurt and OP is probably gone.

    We NEED to get a good #3 pitcher. Niese needs to be in the minors. There are options as call ups and he is one.

    I would be open to Pedro coming back as #5 if it comes to that.

    As stated above there are many options for the Pen. Wood is one. Ideally I would get Wood and Krod and then whatever junk you want to juggle before them. I would keep Smith, Sanchez and Heilman as stated days ago. The others can stay or go.

    As for Murpht, it seems as if he is LF and sometime IF. As John has stated, Castillo is our starter as horrible as that is.

    I want Murphy in the lineup. If they have to use him to spell 1b,2b,3b,OF that is fine. We need to go out and get an OF RH bat. Does not have to be a star, in fact I rather he be a tag team type so Murphy can play.

    Tatis is done. I liked what he did. but he had a super year that wont be duped. We need a younger, more versitile bench to push the starters and give the left side of our infield a break.

  14. (13) Dave-Tatis isn’t “done” I think he can be a serviceable power guy off the bench and a spot-starter here and there.

    I wouldn’t expect an average of .297, but he can still whack it over the fence, so I don’t mind him being around.

    However, I 100% agree about your RH outfield option. I wouldn’t mind signing Juan Rivera. Minaya has wanted him for a few years and he’d certainly be cheap and a much better option to platoon with Murphy, considering his upside is higher than Tatis.

  15. mrmet0805 (14)

    Are you saying you expect Tatis to do what he did last year? I think that was a fluke. He is old and did not show much the previous years. He may have power, but to expect him to be a quality super sup/starter I think is a dream.

  16. I don’t expect him to hit homers or drive in runs with that same frequency. If he does, great, but I don’t expect it.

    I do think he can be serviceable though off the bench and spot-starting.

  17. i hope you are right.

    I am expecting not much from him for this year so i would plan for other options.

  18. (18) You should ALWAYS plan for more options. That has been this team’s major faux pas since 2006.

    Relying on older players/question marks without a solid backup plan in place.

    My major criticism of Minaya.

  19. mrmet0805 (19)

    The problem tho is we have let us say 3 OF with Murph, we have tatis and endy, that is 5.

    how many spots on the team do they have for OF’s? It is a numbers game. If Tatis is not to be counted on as a major cog in the OF ( which I do not think he is ), then you either keep endy or tatis but not both and you get an OF.

    Personally I keep endy for his D and ability to play any OF spot as well as the regulars.

  20. Tatis can play 1B/3B and in a pinch, 2B as well. And if the way Manuel used Endy down the stretch is any indication, he’s going to get the **rare** start and be a defensive replacement.

  21. According to a rumor on Metsblog via the Minn. Star Tribune, the Mets and Phillies are interested in Nick Punto.

    Obviously, he’s not a priority in the truest sense of the word, but I think he’d be a very, very beneficial pickup. Can play 3B, SS, 2B and has a decent stick.

    Plus, as currently constituted, NY doesn’t have a backup SS.

  22. If you don’t have Endy and Beltran is injured you don’t have a CFer, unless you rush F-Mart up.

    But the priority is pitching. I fully expect Omar to have, or be close to having, at least a closer by the end of the meetings, and probably a setup guy as well.

    If I were him, I do everything possible to re-sign Perez, who IMO is as good as anyone out there but CC and has a higher upside than the others, even if he has to overpay.

    THEN, he can look for a “just in case” RH bat, and my guy would be Wiggy, who can play numerous positions (even though he’s no better than average at any) and hit for power and average.

    A package for both him and Valverde would make my day.

    Incidentally, I’m going to be in Vegas this week, and I’m going to check out the action at Bellagio. Who knows—maybe I’ll buttonhole Omar in the lobby and give him some valuable advice. lol

  23. mrmet (22) That’s GREAT news–I’ve been pushing for Punto for over a month. SH, smart hitter, great glove at 2B/SS.

  24. Everyone need to read the article in the Star Ledger today …

    Here’s an excerpt from the article … I believe he articulates what I have been feeling all along …

    As currently constructed, I’m not sure these Mets are even a playoff contender. Sure, they have star power, with Santana, Beltran, Wright, Reyes and Delgado. Those players will carry them a long way. But beyond the oft-maligned “core,” there is a huge question mark in right field, a huge question mark at second base, two huge question marks in left field and nothing (offensively) behind the plate. We’ve already discussed the paper-thin rotation, and everybody knows the bullpen needs much more work than just a new closer.

    That’s a lot of needs, Mets fans. You can talk yourself into thinking Daniel Murphy/Fernando Tatis will work in left, Ryan Church will bounce back in right and Santana/Maine/Pelfrey/Garland/Niese is a reliable rotation. You can convince yourself of this in December if you try really hard, but the emperor has no clothes. Something always goes wrong during the season, and there’s so much that can go wrong with this roster that it’s almost a guarantee.

    Maybe the Mets have a big plan in mind and are waiting to execute it. Given the way they hung in the weeds and snagged Santana late last winter, maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt. But if I had the Mets’ money and everybody else around me was crying poverty, I’d be awfully tempted to say, “Sorry, suckers!” and load up on everything I need to knock the Phillies off their perch.

    Even if they do have a plan, that doesn’t seem to be it. And I think they’re making a mistake. Because right now, I don’t think they’re nearly as good a team as they think they are.

  25. That article which I didn’t know about is the exact reason i stated above that the Mets will win less games in 2009 than they did the past two years. The Mets have way to many holes and don’t have a farm system to fix them or anybody in the FA market that’s worth the signings to fill the needs.

  26. Thanks for posting that rock.

    While I think that is an overly pessimistic view, I do share a lot of Graziano’s concerns, particularly in the rotation.

    Like I said above, the bullpen will probably be the easiest thing Minaya is able to work on this winter. The rotation could be great with a front three of Santana, Pelfrey, Maine, but that “could” is rather large and it’s not worth it to take that risk.

    The Mets are not cheap, no matter what anyone says, but they do often go into free agency with a “small-market” mentality. It’s not just this regime, either. For years, the Mets have spent mega bucks…only on the wrong players.

    They are a big market team. With their own network. In the country’s biggest city. With a new ballpark that will sell out every game. You don’t have to go after CC Sabathia, but they can’t use the so-oft hear excuse that they’ll be “priced out” of others (ie-Lowe, Perez) because the Yankees and Red Sox are getting involved.

    That’s ridiculous.

    Spend a lot…but spend it wisely. That has been the big problem with this club.

  27. Aside from the Heilman for Marquis stuff, the Graziano article summarizes my feelings to a T.

    The issues I have with Heilman for Marquis are two-fold … (1) Marquis is really not that good — maybe a Steve Trachsel type to me and (2) I would rather get Heilman out of here (with Feliciano) for Street and start the reconstruction of the bullpen there.

  28. (30) Rock-I wonder if the Mets are just holding off on the Street deal until they nab one of the closers.

    It’s fairly obvious that no other club who is looking for a closer is going to outbid the Mets, so even trade possibilities (like Street going somewhere else) are not going to happen until that first closer comes off the board…most likely to NY unless it is one they have no interest in.

  29. (23) bill metsiac, I am green with envy that you are going to Vegas, especially during the winter meetings. I’ve only been to the Connecticut and NJ casinos, I hope someday to visit some “real” ones. Don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose, have fun and good luck!

    Regarding baseball, I believe the Mets are in a great position vis a vis signing a closer. Basically they just have to decide which one they think will do the job best (the hard part), then they just offer more than say the Tigers, Indians, Cardinals or Brewers (the easy part).

    I’ve read and heard many good reasons pro and con regarding the available free agents. If it were my decision, I just can’t pass up K-Rod. Despite my previous statements about the Met farm system being lacking, 26 year old succesful experienced closers just don’t come around that often, if I’m going to forfeit a 1st round draft pick for someone this is they guy, declining peripheral numbers be damned.

  30. rok(26)

    He makes a lot of good points. But really what team does not have issues? I do wish that the Mets figure out what they need and just go do it.

    1) Closer. Figure out who you want and do it. don’t have to go crazy with the $$. There are many options and you can play the market, but they should be able to get an 8 and 9 guy in this market.

    2) Starter. Same as above. Rate the people available and get one. I understand the boras thing which means OP is gone.

  31. (34) Dave-That’s where the problem lies though….the rotation.

    While I don’t think the Maine/Pelfrey worries are major, they nevertheless are viable concerns that the Mets have to take into account.

    Easy for us as fans to sit here and say we think they’ll be ok, but Minaya cannot plan that way.

    Plus, the SP market, unless some others are non-tendered in the coming days, is just not very deep.

  32. Mr. Met (#31) & (Dave (#34) … I agree that all teams have issues but some of our issues seem like they could already be addressed — i.e., Heilman/Feliciano for Street. I just have this fear that someone else is going to do offer Colorado something for Street and they will bite leaving us out in the cold.

    If, for example, they really want KROD but do not want to overpay, I can understand what they are doing and cannot disagree.

    If, for example, they really do want Hudson for 2B but need to move Cstilllo first and are having a tough time doing so, I can also understand.

    But with so many issues as summarized by Graziano, I am confused as to why they haven’t done anything … no bullpen parts, no serious offers to any available starters … nothing.

  33. I agree rock, it is weird. I guess we’ll find out in the coming days if it’s going to backfire on them or not.

    Things should pick up with the meetings now upon us.

    As for the Street deal…that’s what was reported. As each offseason passes, I get leerier and leerier about rumors I read.

  34. Dave (#32) … as much as I would want Castillo out of here, I would not do Castillo for Guillen …. what I would do is see if I could get Andruw Jones for Castillo and make him the LF’er in another contract year … the money is a wash and with Jones’ all being in one year, we would be out from under Castillo and Jones will be gone in 2010 when FMart is ready.

    Jones offers a RH bat for LF, Castillo is gone and the money washes. If Jones is a dud then we at least have Murphy/tatis as a fallback. Relying on Murphy/Ttais IMO is a recioe for disaster.

    Unfortunatley, this is my idea and not a rumor of any kind …

  35. roksolidmets (36)

    If the street deal is real i would do it now.

    you have a #8 and in a pinch a closer. What is the holdup? Perhaps it is not real.

    Castillo is a problem. in this environment who wants an injured overpriced player who has problems playing his position and has a weak bat with a long contract?

    If he comes back healthy and can play I would trade him, but that means you aren’t moving on at that position and batting order now which is what we really want to do.

  36. No it’s not a rumor, but you know what?

    It’s actually not a bad idea at all. The Mets just need to get over the fact that they’d have to put a large chunk of change into one player for one season.

    If he bounces back…great. If not, commence platoon as originally desired.

    And BTW, while he certainly wouldn’t be their optimal choice, the Dodgers are looking for a 2B. As of now, they are continuously linked to Robinson Cano and have plans to play Blake DeWitt there if they can get a 3B.

  37. MrMwt (#38) ….

    “As for the Street deal…that’s what was reported. As each offseason passes, I get leerier and leerier about rumors I read.”

    I agree … it’s just that everyone I hear and everything I read seems to have a report on this so it seems more credible then most “rumors” ….

    I am not trying to annoint Street a savior by any means and for all I know, the Mets may be aware of some lingering health issue, but short of that, he would appear to be an ideal 8th inning “bridge” guy and emergency closer who could be had for very little cost.

    Heilman/Feliciano for Street …. Castillo for Andruw Jones …. those are “additions by sybtraction” for me.

    And just to be clear, I am not an Andruw Jones fan by any means, but he seems like the kind of guy that could be had for Castillo since LA is looking for a second baseman (see rumors on Cano to the Dodgers) …

  38. (40) Dave-As much as I think that the Mets would probably like to hang onto Feliciano, afterall before 2008 he was a good guy against LH/RH, I sense the deal is a bit of a fabrication.

    The price may be somewhat more expensive than NY would like, but I can’t believe they’d turn it down over just over Feliciano. As much as I despise Schoeneweis, if they’re not planning on bringing in another legit LH, keep Schoeneweis and use him stritcly as the LOOGY.

    Getting Street for the 8th would more than make up for losing Feliciano/Heilman.

  39. Just for the record, I wish this site had a spell check function :-(

    I am so used to it with my normal email where my stuff gets checked automatically before I send it that re-reading my stuff with all the typos is driving me nuts so my apologies if it’s confusing you guys.

  40. MrMet (44) … something is wrong with the Mets’ thinking if Feliciano is a deal breaker with regard to obtaining Street … it makes zero sense to me.

  41. Saw this on MLB Trade Rumors:

    According to Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Tigers and Mets have shown the most interest in free agent closer Kerry Wood. He expects Wood to sign a two-year deal with a third-year vesting option. De Luca also notes that Wood never conveyed a willingness to take a one-year deal to the Cubs. Still, the Cubs surely had read the quotes by the time they decided not to offer him arbitration.

    I’m telling you, if the Mets can get this guy for only two guaranteed years, I think you do it…as long as they are certain or have a deal in the works for an 8th inning guy that was a closer before.

    I won’t mind K-Rod if he comes here, but his price will be way, way higher and there is just the issue of burnout with him. I don’t know why but I’m more worried about it than I thought I’d be.

  42. I would still favor KROD for 3 years + an option year …. I am just not sold on Wood’s health, even over a 2-year contract.

    Also, I would prefer not to have to address this whole closer issue again after the 2010 season …

    I realize ever player presents a health risk, but with Wood’s history, I would just pass.

  43. If any one is interested Guillen has a no limited no trade clause. The Mets are one of the teams on that list.
    Andrew Jones has deferred money on his contract. He is owed more than just the 18 million for 2009. The Dodgers have been a bit secretive about his contract with the media.

  44. Erik Bedard was non-tendered by SEA…he’s a FA.

    If the price isn’t prohibitive…I’d go after him pretty hard.

  45. (51) mrmet, If I find the links I’ll post them here but I read multiple reports last year about what a jerk Bedard was in Seattle, and also that he refused to pitch coming back from injury once cleared by medical staff. I wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole.

    Here’s one quote from the News:

    “Erik Bedard: OK, the lefty was hurt all season and we never got to see the real Erik Bedard on the mound, but we got a feel for the real Erik Bedard off the field. Let’s just say he’s not a great communicator.”

  46. I did hear that too. Definitely something to look out for.

    That being said, I misread…he hasn’t been non-tendered yet, just that he could.

    My bad, sorry folks!!

  47. regarding Bedard, this one from the Seattle Times pretty much covers it:

    June 9, 2008 10:15 AM
    Bedard disappoints — again

    Posted by Jerry Brewer

    So Erik Bedard continues to disappoint.

    It is not about his talent. We have seen him showcase the ability of an ace during his 11 starts with the Mariners.

    It is not about his shy public demeanor. We have advanced past the “Who is he?” phase with Bedard, so the only intrigue involves how he performs on the field.

    It is about his temperament. We have learned a truth about the guy.

    He plays soft.

    In just over two months with his new team, Bedard has left the Mariners hanging again and again because he cannot pitch under duress.

    We saw it when he went on the disabled list earlier this season with a hip injury. We saw it during his rough string of starts last month, when he seemingly caved whenever something went wrong. And we saw it on Sunday, when Bedard excused himself from a 1-1 game after the fifth inning.

    He said he was spent. He had allowed only two hits to the Red Sox, but he had thrown 99 pitches. Here is a passage from Geoff Baker’s Mariners blog that explains the frustration.

    12:41 p.m.: As I mentioned, Erik Bedard left the game before throwing a pitch in the sixth. Sean Green came on and served up a leadoff homer to center field by J.D. Drew that was a line drive bullet. So, it’s now 2-1 for the Red Sox. Bedard allowed only a run on two hits over his five innings. But an “ace” has to go deeper and can’t leave his bullpen to finish off four innings for him. You just saw why. This trade is turning into a colossal bust. Might be time for the M’s to begin planning a second deal, one that gets them back at least 70 cents on the dollar type value. Better than waiting too long and getting in that game a little late. Yes, it’s early, but Bedard’s best trade value might be this July 31 or next winter. Best to figure out if you actually want to extend him and keep him around for five years, given what the team now knows about him. Hey, I thought this was a good deal too. But it has not had a great impact on this team so far. In any positive sense. If you don’t want Bedard hanging around beyond next year — and he doesn’t seem sold on the idea — then the team has to ask itself if it can seriously contend in 2009. If the answer is no to that too, then the call has been made and a deal must take place.

    Basically, I feel the same as Geoff, but I don’t think the Mariners are willing to go 70 cents on the dollar with Bedard. They gave up too much to get him. If this front office remains, they will spend the next three years trying to justify that deal. So, unless the Mariners fear he won’t re-sign after next season (and Bedard does not seem too happy here), they’re going to be stuck offering a huge contract to a pitcher unwilling to act like an ace.

    If you read any of my columns before the Bedard trade, you will remember that I was not sold on Bedard. I was concerned that, over four seasons as a major-league starter, he had never thrown 200 innings before. I was concerned that he had a history of little injuries that caused him to miss starts.

    The counterargument was that he had plenty in the tank, that he was just coming into his own. But look at him now: Are you happy with his performance thus far?

    Bedard is 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts. It is not a terrible start. In fact, he might go on a hot streak similar to the one he had last season in Baltimore to finish the season and have numbers that look very good. But at 22-41, the Mariners’ season is already over, and we will remember that, when the team needed him most, Bedard was MIA.

    I remember the measured words of general manager Bill Bavasi last week when he held court after Mount McLaren erupted.

    When asked about Bedard, Bavasi said: “Right now, I wish his wheels didn’t come off so easily.”

    Bavasi had to know what he was getting into, however. Basic scouting would’ve shown that Bedard is a guy who throws his 90-100 pitches every five days and then calls it a game. He was bred in the Orioles’ losing culture. He had Tommy John surgery six years ago, perhaps causing him to be extra careful with his health.

    Read the various media reports on Sunday’s game, and they show that Bedard was legitimately exhausted on a 95-degree day in Boston. An hour after the game, he was still out of it. But I am not blaming him for this one incident. These things happen. I am blaming him for the fact that he has a pattern of, um, settling.

    He fits in with the many underachievers the Mariners have collected the past few years. The Bedard trade will never be a total disaster, but let’s face it: He will never be the ace on a championship team.