...when you’ve already waited a decade.
Yet I’m sure that desperation and panic have started creeping into the hearts of a number of fans, because we still haven’t dealt Erik Bedard. I imagine that for some of those, this article in the Baltimore Sun sent them reaching for the anti-anxiety medication of their choice:
After listening to trade proposals for his ace for the past couple of months, Andy MacPhail says it is a "strong likelihood" that Erik Bedard will be the Orioles' Opening Day starter rather than being traded.
"It's up to [manager] Dave Trembley in the final analysis to set his rotation, but that's what [Bedard] is today, and I think that's a strong likelihood," said MacPhail, the Orioles' president of baseball operations. "But that said, you never know."
It is not an absolute. Things can happen before March 31, 2008.
Let me explain how I feel about a trade of Bedard. I’ll spare you all the details of my logic vs heart conflict because, well, that could take long. Suffice it to say: Do I want to trade him? No. I think he’s special and I love to watch him pitch in an O’s uniform. But I understand that it is not practical to keep him. The O’s are not contenders with him, but they could become contenders using the pieces they get back from a trade of EB.
That’s why I think it is appropriate that GM Andy MacPhail is taking his time to find the offer that is just right, because the return for Bedard is very important in setting the future of the O’s. People are claiming for action, now! when there’s still a good chunk of the offseason left. If the process takes until juuuust before spring training, so it does. No harm is done to the team for waiting (other than perhaps a few hundred fans swearing off the club. :-P) since the reward is that we end up with the players we truly want. Now, should it go beyond the opening of the season....well, that is not the ideal. There’s a lot of risk involved in waiting that long. But things still can work out. If the value McPhail is seeking is not there now, and it takes up to the trade deadline for the best deal to surface, then that’s the way to go. That is possible, as unlikely as some may see it. The catch is that the players we get at that time might be one or two years away, as opposed to the ML ready guys we could get now. But the talent will be greater (that’s why we waited, no?) and since the plan is to start contending in 2010 and beyond, there’s the likelihood that these players will start to contribute as soon as they join the club.
On a parallel note, perhaps things would move faster if the targeted teams were those that could really use EB? That’s the only reservation I have with MacPhail’s handling of the situation. The three “finalists”-- Dodgers, Mariners, and the Reds -- have what we need...but for two of them, getting Bedard means substracting pieces that they need in order to win. In the case of the Reds, they would be giving up too much when it is not clear that they can do more than win the divsion in the two years Erik would be under their control. I think MacPhail needs to direct his attention at teams that have the prospects AND better odds of making the playoffs. The Angels, for sure. And (assuming the reports are true) he has to convince owner Angelos to drop his ban on trading within the division. If it is true that the Yankees and Red Sox are interested, take their best young players! Weakening either of those two is worth facing and getting beaten by Bedard five times a season. :-)
Change will happen, O's fans. Let's be patient.