Well, a simulated roundtable, anyway... if Sheets can throw a simulated game, well...
Hopefully we can get a couple of live chats going this February...
GLMuskie: Z was on KIRO today. He described the doctors' reaction to Bedard's comeback as very surprised, and 'way ahead of schedule'.
He also said that he expects Bedard to be back 'way before' the trading deadline.
DrD: A little out-of-character for Zduriencik, who likes to decompress the pressure on his signings, as when he brought Jack Wilson in and indeed as he soft-played the Cliff Lee signing.
Capt Jack called Bedard 'strong as an ox' and all that stuff, in Cap-O-Speak as much as saying, "well, maybe he'll miss April."
Nobody seems to much remember that Bedard shocked everybody in 2009 by being ready not only early in the year, but actually for the opening bell - Bedard pitched the 2nd game of the season.
Revised guesstimate for Bedard, maybe May 15 - June 1 if all goes well, but of course nobody will be shocked if there are setbacks.
KGaffney: Given the market for Sheets, Harden, and Bedard (as reflected in the salaries they received), most teams do not think Bedard is going to pitch much this year, or at least not at his previously established level.
To summarize, its a good deal for the M's but I don't buy that Sheets and Harden are legitimate comparisons... and the variance in salary that the three received indicates that MLB teams don't see them as equivalent risks either.
The possibility exists that the M's are working with better information than any other team and therefore are able to better assess the risk. Here's hoping that's the case!
SABRMatt: You're forgetting an important factor in why Bedard can't get the deal that Sheets and Harden got. Sheets and Harden are healthy NOW...Bedard won't be healthy until at least May. Even if most teams expect Bedard to pitch about as well as the other two guys, it's harder to justify taking that gamble on a guy who isn't going to start out the season healthy.
DrD: Fair points. Will cheerfully concede that the 'curb appeal' of having watched Ben Sheets air it out in a bullpen session -- that is going to matter to any human being.
Let Bedard get to May, and throw 90 in a bullpen session, snap off some curves, and open the bidding -- no doubt his agent would have been a LOT happier with that.
Let's remember, though, that Bedard's contract escalators zero in on a projected return of 75-150 IP in 2010. That seems to be the reasonable upper and lower bound of his production.
Now, how many innings do you expect out of Rich Harden? Here are his last 5 years' worth of IP:
Aren't the Rangers also paying for 75-150 IP of Rich Harden?
Ben Sheets is coming off absolutely 0 IP last season, although in his case, at least he has shown the ability to pitch a full season in the rotation (as has Bedard), which Harden has not.
I would even argue that Bedard's late arrival into the season positions him to be stronger in September. I would honestly wager that Erik Bedard has a better chance to be throwing well in September-October than Rich Harden does. Possibly Sheets too.
Bedard, Sheets, and Harden are comparables in the sense that they are 50-50 rolls of the dice at 100+ innings, and playoffs, out of a Cy Young starter.
KGaffney: The variance in salary that the three received indicates that MLB teams don't see them as equivalent risks either.
The only alternative view of the situation is that Bedard was so predisposed to coming to Seattle that no other team really had the capacity to drive up the price.
DrD: And there's the 'curb appeal factor.'
Bedard's agent did in fact complain that it's hard to keep B, C, and D on the line when you're locked into pursuing A first.
There's a principle in negotiation, whoever says the first number loses.
Car salesman: how much do you want for your clunker? Buyer: Well, what will you pay for it? Salesman: how much will you take to unload it, Today? Buyer: Oh, $4,500? Salesman: GUFFAW. What would make you think a 2001 Windstar is worth A THIRD of a brand-new one?
Erik Bedard's agent couldn't get other teams to name a number. GM: What would Erik be looking for, for us to get this done today? Bedard: Well, to be honest, we've been working a lot with the Mariners, and we're going to see what's there first, but we just thought we'd get an idea of what he's worth to you. GM: :click:
Can tell you this much from what negotiating blunders I've made in the past. Bedard's agent was in no position to get into serious negotiations, given that Erikkkkk made it loud and clear he wanted to return to the M's.
Again, Zduriencik's sheer recruitability is one of his most undersold strengths. It's worth untold million$ to the M's. They should double his salary for that alone.