So if you're Jack Zduriencik and the M's are in second place, three games out on July 25th what do you do? If Bedard pitches about as well as he has his last four starts, he will be a prized commodity at the trade deadline. Who knows what kinds of offers Jack might get? He could flip Bedard for an outfield prospect to fill the hole in left field. He could get the "catcher of the future," perhaps. On the other hand: playoffs! The value to this franchise right now of a playoff run or even a good pennant race going into next season could be huge for attendance, and therefore, payroll flexibility.
To my mind I don't think you can trade Bedard if the M's are in contention at the deadline. Even though it could help the team in 2012 and beyond, the point of baseball is to win championships and you should never pass up a shot to get to the postseason. Too many things have to go right to get that shot.
A big concern for me if Bedard were traded while the team still had a shot, is the fact that the team would feel a lot of pressure to pitch Pineda an unreasonable number of innings. If the team can go into the playoffs with Felix, Bedard 2.0, Vargas and Fister they might have a shot. Take Bedard out of the picture and, unless they significantly improve the offense, the starting pitching is probably not good enough to win. The team would be sorely temped to put Pineda in the mix. Hell, I might be tempted if it meant winning a playoff series.
One question that plays big into this: does Bedard have any shot at being a type B FA? If so this, to me, becomes a pretty easy call as we'd get a draft pick even if we didn't trade him. On the other hand, maybe Jack will short-circuit this whole dilemma by just trading Bedard in June. Given Bedard's history this might be the way to go.