January 28, 2008

How would this effect any Santana trade?

Good morning. Last night, a report broke that the Orioles and Mariners have potentially agreed to a trade that would send Erik Bedard to Seattle in exchange for a package headlined by young, prized outfielder Adam Jones.

I haven't seen a report of who else would be included, but if this is true, it should be out shortly. Bedard is supposed to travel to Baltimore on Monday to complete a physical and Adam Jones has been told to be in Baltimore as well tomorrow to complete a physical, leaving behind his Venezuelan Winter League team before game four of the finals. Jones responded with, "It sucks..." when told that he wouldn't be able to play with his team.

This trade is just another that has been discussed for the majority of the off-season. Bedard along with Dan Haren would be two pitchers on the hill of new teams come opening day. They may not be the only two, most reports suggest that the Twins will trade Johan Santana as well, but besides the speculation those talks have not really gone anywhere in the last month or so. But Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (hold your enthusiasm) suggests that a trade "is expected to occur within 10 days." Honestly, I'll believe it when I see it.

The Athletics got a "mother load" of prospects in return for Haren, and it's expected that the Orioles will get a fair amount of prospects for Bedard as well. One of the reasons that these teams have been able to get so much in return is because both of these players have more than one year remaining on their contracts, something that Santana does not. Bedard is often considered one of the best left-handers in the American League, but many consider Santana the best.

Bedard, 28, is not eligible for free agency until 2010, but it's expected that the Mariners will work on a deal with him to stay in Seattle, long-term. Despite ending the season on the disabled list, Bedard put up great numbers for a pretty horrid team.

Level        G      W        L      ERA        IP       K      BB     K/9
MLB         28     13        5     3.16     182.0     221      57   10.93

Those numbers are very good, and without being injured, he may have been in contention to win the American League Cy Young Award. He will be Baltimore's second big-name player to leave via trade this season, the first was shortstop Miguel Tejada. And some don't expect them to be done. The Orioles have been linked to trade rumors that would send second baseman Brian Roberts to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for another solid group of prospects. Bedard has also been linked to those rumors as well, in speculation to a possible 7-2 player exchange.

Jones, a 22-year-old center fielder is considered to be a very complete prospect and has a lot of potential. His upside has been compared to that of Andruw Jones during his good years with the Braves. He has a lot of potential both on offense which could help him become a 30 home run threat, and on defense which he may be able to grab a few Gold Gloves during his prime. He is the same type of player the Twins would like to headline their return trade for Santana.

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
AAA         67    420     .314     .382      .586    .968      25      84
MLB         16     65     .246     .300      .400    .700       2       4

With two pitchers already reportedly off the market, teams that are looking for a potential #1 pitcher for their rotation will now (hopefully) be looking at Santana of the Twins. That includes the Mets, who've reportedly been after Bedard since he was rumored to be available. The Mets have also been linked to free agents such as Livan Hernandez and Kyle Lohse, but neither will be more than inning-eaters for them. Many feel that the Mets are the "front runners" to landing Santana, but it's unsure to what extent. The Twins have reportedly said they would accept a deal right now if the Mets would add young outfielder Fernando Martinez to a 4 player package, but that's easier said than done. I find it hard to believe that the Mets would just add their top prospect to an offer that they have felt is fair enough. The two seem to be in a staring match.

The Mets may have to find a way to get Santana now, as they have more of a need for a top-of-the-rotation starter with uncertainties surrounding Pedro Martinez as he missed the majority of the 2007 season. The other teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox that have been linked to Santana, don't seem to be in as dire of a need for an ace. The Mets may now need to come to reality that Martinez is the player that is holding this thing up, and I'm not suggesting that they need to do the reported 5-1 trade that's been floated around, but adding Martinez and taking out a player such as Carlos Gomez or Deolis Guerra is probably what's going to need to happen.

The Twins may have been given a little bit of boost in leverage if this Bedard trade is true, but I'm not sure if it's the amount of leverage that will help them get a deal done, at least any sooner. We're going to have to wait and see. One thing is for sure, everyone is tired of hearing about Santana rumors with contradicting reports that come out every day.