It occurred to me earlier today that my stance on the Bedard rumor might be causing a little confusion. It's one thing to say that you don't want to give up Adam Jones as part of a package, but then to turn around and agree with Dave that you'd give up any number of other young players to land the same guy? Those two positions seem more than a little contradictory. Either a pitcher is worth a lot, or he isn't, right?
My rationalization is two-fold. For one thing, Jones has - by a fair margin - the best odds of any of our young players of turning into a solid, long-term regular. He's proven the most. Morrow has a great fastball but limited offspeed stuff and zero experience starting games professionally. Balentien still has things to work on in AAA, and will never be Jones' equal in the field. Triunfel has all the potential in the world, but he's miles away. Tillman's 19 and hasn't touched AA. Clement has to get a little better at the plate (albeit not much) while proving that he can stick behind it. Tui's still waiting on his power. And so on and so forth. There are a lot of guys with a lot of promise in this system - seriously, we're in pretty good shape - but Jones is the only one who's ready to be a good regular right now. The further away a prospect is from that point, the lower his odds of making it, and therefore the easier it is to trade him. It doesn't mean you won't go on to regret it, but your chances of wishing you never gave up that great player are lower with a package excluding Jones than they would be with a package including him.
My second reason - and I still can't decide which of these is more important - is that there comes a point at which a team is justified in overpaying for an impact player in order to better its chances of winning in the short-term. A point at which the benefit (greatly improving your immediate playoff odds) begins to outweigh the cost (all the talent you're giving up). Detroit's not a bad example. I believe that, in a situation in which they're able to keep Adam Jones, the Mariners are at or around that point. If you add Bedard to this team and keep Jones in right, they're neck and neck with the Angels in true talent, which puts them in good position. However, if you take Jones away, then you're back to being a few wins worse, because the replacements aren't as good. And in that situation I don't think you've improved your odds enough to justify the expense.
Where you stand on this trade depends primarily (but not exclusively) on (A) how highly you think of Adam Jones, and (B) where you place the threshold described in the last paragraph. That is, the location of the point at which the short-term benefit outweighs the cost. If you think a 10% chance of going to the playoffs is good enough to go all out, you've probably been bullish on this deal from the start. If your level is 50%, you're less in favor. And if you only support making a trade like this on the condition that the player you bring back makes you the Series favorite, you've presumably convinced yourself that this is completely retarded. You already know what I think.
Despite all the heated debates in so many different places, though, I know for a fact that there's one thing on which we can all agree -
This just needs to be over.