When I really started helping cover the Mariners' beat was right when the Erik Bedard trade was in about week one of its four week process. Larry had gotten sick, and the editors said, "Ok, you have to do this now."
I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I was thinking about this the other day when the Mariners declined to pick up his option, how much has changed since then. Bedard has seen four different managers, three different pitching coaches and three different general managers in that time. He's had three different shoulder surgeries and five trips to the disabled list.
In three years, Bedard played in two seasons, making 15 starts in each of those season. He finished with an 11-7 record and 3.24 ERA and a mountain of unmet expectations.
We all know about the trade. Sure it seemed like the worst trade in franchise history when Adam Jones became an all-star outfielder and Chris Tillman became one of the Orioles top pitching prospect.
Could the Mariners possibly bring him back again? Who knows. But I had some free time and figured to I'd put together a look back with links, quotes and photos from his time with the Mariners in timeline form
Jan. 24, 2008 – During the Mariners annual pre-spring training luncheon, then GM Bill Bavasi hints at what we all knew was happening - he was negotiating a trade with the Orioles to get Bedard.
He said he wants "a premier starting pitcher," "a top-of-the-rotation guy," a "rare animal." And he believes the Mariners will get one soon.
"As I'm sitting here today, I think we will (get a deal done)," Bavasi said. "I think there's a good chance of that. But I should qualify that by saying I've thought that four or five times in the last month and it's been shot down."And then there was this quote about giving up too much for a pitcher ...
"We are not one of those clubs," Bavasi said emphatically. "We're prepared to move, but there's a limit."
Jan 28, 2008 – Adam Jones tells a Venezuelan reporter: Diario Panorama, "I've got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there. I'm the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners' side. It's an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is."
Feb. 7, 2008 – Bedard shows up to take his physical.
Feb. 8, 2008 – M’s finally announce that they have traded OF Adam Jones, LHP George Sherrill, RHP Chris Tillman, RHP Kam Mickolio and LHP Tony Butler to the Orioles for Bedard.
"I know this seems like it was a long time coming, but this was a high-stakes deal and we were getting one hell of a player," Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said at a news conference Friday at Safeco Field.
"During the offseason, we have been focused on improving our pitching staff and adding our front-line starter," Bavasi said. "He gives us that power arm that will complement the rest of our pitching staff."
Feb. 13, 2008 – Pitchers and catchers report and manager John McLaren tells the media that Bedard will start opening day.
"I just think (Bedard) has a little more experience, basically that's the biggest reason," McLaren said.
Supposedly, the decision was fine with Hernandez.
"I talked to Felix (Tuesday) and he's comfortable with our decision," McLaren said.
Bedard shrugged off the whole thing, minimizing its importance.
"I don't know why everybody makes such a big deal about it," he said.
He wasn't alone.
"Y'all are going to make a bigger deal out of this than anybody else," McLaren said. "Felix is fine with it. We're fine with it. We just think this is the best route to go at this point."Hmm, but we later found out that Felix wasn’t fine with it. In fact, he was extremely irked that Bedard was named starter. And we also later found out that Bedard was uncomfortable in that situation of having the spotlight on him as the opening day starter and supposed staff ace. Not one of McLaren's best ideas.
Feb. 28, 2008 – Bedard makes his first spring training start (above), giving up three runs in two innings.
"You can't expect much for the first outing," he said. "You would like to do well, but oh well."
So it's already out of his mind?
"Yeah pretty much," he said "I've already forgotten about it."
"When I sat down on the bench," he said.March 1, 2008 -- Upset about being asked several questions during the start, Bedard complained to McLaren. And when the M's manager was asked about Bedard's start again, McLaren got the "red ass" as he likes to say.
"Some of the questions you guys asked me yesterday, it actually (expletive) me off and it's carrying over to today," he said. "I just don't know what the (expletive) we're expecting in spring training. We get three scoreless innings and I just want this kid in shape. It (expletive) (expletive) me off, to be honest with you."March 10, 2008
– Bedard wasn’t pleased with being hounded by questions after his first start,which led to this humorous exchange after his second spring training start.
March 31, 2008 – Bedard makes opening day start, lasting five innings (a sign of things to come, allowing no runs on three hits, four walks and striking out five. throwing 106 pitches, 59 for strikes.
"He's got 30 pitches in the first inning and we're already thinking, 'How far can he go?'” Mariners manager John McLaren said. "He probably could have gone back out, to be honest with you. We certainly didn't want to do that on opening day. That's usually his range, about 110 pitches."
After the game, Bedard succinctly characterized his first start for the Mariners as: "OK."
April 3, 2008 – I talk to Bedard for a story about returning to Baltimore to pitch.
"The media is going to make a big deal about everything," he said.April 5, 2008 – Bedard is scratched from his scheduled start with sore hip in Baltimore.
April 14, 2008 -- We aren't certain about Bedard's recovery. Why? Well ...
The status of Erik Bedard's ailing left hip is still a mystery. But this much is certain: the hip feels good enough for him to abruptly stop mid-stride, pivot and head back to the privacy of the training room upon seeing a collection of reporters waiting to ask him questions Monday.
Perhaps the best news for Mariners fans is that he performed the move without so much as a limp.
A day after being scratched from a scheduled start for the second time this season with inflammation in the left hip, Bedard was at Safeco Field receiving treatment. But how serious the injury is, when he will pitch again and if this is something he's had before in his career all were questions that remained unanswered. Bedard wasn't talking.
And since he is reluctant to speak about the injury, or much of anything else, information on Bedard's status and health were relayed by Mariners manager John McLaren, who offered: "I just saw him, and he said was feeling better today."April 15, 2008 – Bedard goes on the disabled list with a sore hip
May 21, 2008 – After seeing some friction between Johjima and Bedard, McLaren announces that Jamie Burke will be Bedard's personal catcher.
"You gotta look at it two ways, if a guy having success with one guy, you definitely gotta weigh that heavily, that doesn't lie," McLaren said. "We've got kind of that situation with Burke and Bedard. It's been a good combination so we're going to stick with it for awhile."June 9, 2008
– I post a ratherlengthy rant
But Bedard has not been everything the Mariners, or I, thought he would be as a pitcher or a person. I know that many fans will jumps to that initial conclusion – since Bedard is difficult to deal with the media wants to get rid of him. That's claim is ridiculous.
Is he kind of a jackass to the media and other people not associated with the Mariners? Yes
Do I think he does his little act simply because he can? Definitely.
Does that affect my reasoning in all of this? Not really.
I look at him two ways – pitcher and player – and so far he hasn't been overwhelming as eitherJune 16, 2008 – Bill Bavasi is fired as general manager of the Mariners and has these comments about Bedard.
"You have to ask him and I know that's no fun. And he's going to have a stupid answer for you can count on it. He's going to have some dumb-ass answer."
"He's either gassed because he's laboring. He's protecting himself because he knows even he sticks around and is mediocre he gets another 2 million bucks lopped onto his salary."
"Why doesn't he go longer? It's a real pointed question. But you need to ask him. And good luck with that."June 20, 2008 – John McLaren is fired and a few of his coaches have some bad things to say about Bedard after the firing.
"You had pitchers complaining about having to throw to (catcher) Kenji Jojoba all spring, and then saw him get a three-year contract extension in April," the coach said. "You had guys watch Felix (Hernandez) work his (butt) off in camp and watched Bedard do the minimum - and Bedard was the opening-day starter."
The second coach offered other details.
"Then Bedard started setting his own pitch counts, and sitting in the clubhouse during games he didn't start. Mac tried dealing with that - we all did. How do you make the highest-paid players on your team work harder if they decide they're not going to?"July 10, 2008 – Bedard is placed on the DL again with left shoulder stiffness.
July 31, 2008 – With the season in the tank, it would seem logical to trade Bedard, but his sore shoulder prevents that and the MLB trade deadline passes.
Sept. 16, 2008 -- The Mariners announce that Bedard needs shoulder surgery
"To not be able to pitch, that's the most frustrating part," Bedard said. "To not be able to do what you love is hard, and now to have surgery and not know if I can come back or not.
"If I can't pitch, I guess it'll be time to find reality, find a 9-to-5 job in the real world.Sept. 26, 2008 -- Surgery reveals that Bedard does not have a torn labrum
Dr. Lewis Locum removed the cyst from the shoulder and performed a minor labral debridement (clean-up of some fraying). But in the search for any major structural damage, none was found.Dec. 12, 2008
--Bedard is spotted at the winter meetings
Jan. 20, 2009 -- Bedard avoids salary arbitration and signs a 1-year deal with the Mariners for about $7.75 million
March 11, 2009 -- It's been a pretty quiet spring for Bedard. But he misses a few days with a strained gluteus maximus.
April 7, 2009 – Bedard makes his first start for M’s for the 2009 season, pitching 5 innings and giving up three runs on six hits in a 6-5 loss where Brandon Morrow imploded as the closer.
April 13, 2009 – Bedard pitches perhaps best game in his brief Mariner career. He pitched 8 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits and striking out seven and walking just one. The Mariners win 1-0.
May 15, 2009 – Bedard skips a start with a sore right hamstring – no big deal.
June 12, 2009 – Bedard bothered by an inflamed shoulder and has his start skipped
June 16, 2009 – Bedard throws flat ground session, but afterward see him bothered by the shoulder and he was talking with trainer Rick Griffin extensively
June 17, 2009 – Bedard is placed on the DL again with shoulder inflammation.
July 1, 2009 – After rehabbing and getting ready to return, Bedard has a start pushed back to throw a simulated game.
July 7, 2009 -- Bedard is activated from the DL and starts that night, pitching four innings and allowing two runs on two hits, but he struck out eight guys.
July 26, 2009 – Bedard goes on the DL again with shoulder inflammation. And again, he's unable to be traded at the deadline because of the issues.
July 28, 2009 – Bedard admits to having severe pain in shoulder and still trying to pitch with it -- going against some people's assertion that he's not very tough.
“It just got consistently worse, but after my third start, I didn’t say anything – I didn’t want to skip a start,” Bedard said. “We’re playing well, we’re winning, and the team counted on me to be there every fifth day.”
Bedard’s fourth start was four days ago against Cleveland, and in it, he threw 81 pitches in three innings.
“Not good,” he said. “I felt OK warming up, but in the game, whenever I’d max out the fastball, there was a sharp pain, and I didn’t have any command of the ball.
“I could throw the curve without the pain. I just assumed it was tendinitis, and that I could pitch through it.”August 6, 2009 – Bedard’s season is done after 15 starts.
August 14, 2009 - Bedard undergoes exploratory surgery, Yocum repairs a torn labrum and inflamed bursa sac.
August 15, 2009 – Bedard talks with the media about the surgery.
Do you believe me now?" Bedard said a bit later. "It seemed to me there were a lot of people who didn't believe I was hurt."Dec. 1, 2009
–the M’s fail to offer Bedard salary arbitration.
Feb. 6, 2010 -- The Mariners sign Bedard to an incentive-laden deal.
"We think Erik is an important piece for us to add, " general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "We' re confident he'll be ready to pitch Major League games this season. We've carefully monitored his recovery from surgery and his rehabilitation process and are confident he'll be a contributor to our 2010 campaign. We are looking forward to him returning and being a part of this organization as we move forward."March 23, 2010
--Bedard's spring training recovery is progressing nicely.
April 20, 2010 -- Manager Don Wakamatsu says he believes Bedard could be ready by late May
May 16, 2010 -- Now it's looking like mid-June
May 21, 2010 -- Bedard feels discomfort after throwing a simulated game.
"He was setback a little and he'll start to play catch again on Saturday," Wakamatsu said. "With Erik, we talked about a good scenario would be 10 months and we're not there yet even with this setback. There's always a chance that as you get closer to pitch in a ballgame you might have a little setback. I think that's what you are seeing. We don't feel like this is a major setback. This is just something we had to check. He'll throw again Saturday and we'll determine the schedule from that point forward. I think you are going to be looking right around the 10-month mark or just slightly over it."June 11, 2010
– Bedard throws a bullpen again and is back on track to return again. Hopes are high.
June 26, 2010 -- Bedard throws in minor league game in Arizona.
July 1, 2010 – Bedard throws 81 pitches in rehab start for Tacoma
“They wanted me to work on the change-up, so I threw a lot of them tonight,” Bedard said. “I don’t know if it’s official yet, but I think I’m pitching Tuesday in Safeco Field.”July 3, 2010
--Wakamatsu slots Bedard into the rotation for the July 6 start against the Royals
July 5, 2010 -- Bedard is scratched from that start with shoulder stiffness.... uh oh.
“It’s a little bit of what he experienced before, a little bit of stiffness in his shoulder,” Wakamatsu said. “Rather than jump right into the start and hope that it goes away, we’ll find out what the doctors say about it and hopefully they’ll reassure him that it’s nothing serious and that it’s just a little bit of stiffness after this last bullpen.”July 10, 2010
– Bedard is scratched from throwing a side session with discomfort.
... it would be totally unfair to question Bedard's toughness or willingness to pitch hurt because of this latest setback. Just as it was unfair for the Mariners or any fans to expect him to come back so soon from a possible career-threatening injury.July 23, 2010
--Bedard will seek a third opinion on his shoulder pain.
Aug. 3, 2010 – The Mariners announce that Bedard will have surgery for third time on shoulder
Aug. 6, 2010 – Bedard has surgery to have a bone spur in his acromioclavicular joint shaved down.
Aug, 7, 2010 – Bedard talks with the media. I note mentally that he’s always quite talkative post surgery – good meds.
"Yeah, because when you don’t really know, you don’t know if the labrum came back healed right, but everything looked good, the labrum was fine, the rotator cuff was fine," he said. "And it was just getting the bone spur out and start a new arm. They shaved it off, made it nice and clean, and I’ll be fine."
When asked if he wanted to be back, Bedard said: "If they want me back, yes, I would love to come back."Nov. 11, 2010 -- Unsurprisingly, the Mariners decline the $8 million mutual option they have with Bedard.
Obviously they could renegotiate a deal with Bedard. But at this time perhaps it's time for both parties to move on.