I've been spending so much time lately dealing with other teams' rumors that I might as well tackle the Mariners' own while I'm at it. What do we have today? This, from Ken Rosenthal:
The Seattle Mariners had two scouts watching the Boston Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate on Wednesday night and one watching the Sox’s Double-A club, according to major league sources.
The Sox are "all over" Bedard, one source said, and both the Sox and New York Yankees are expected to scout Bedard on Friday night.
This isn't really anything we didn't already know - we can expect Bedard to be heavily scouted on Friday as he returns from the DL, because it's his one and only start before the deadline. And it isn't surprising that the Mariners have had scouts observing the affiliates of a possible trade partner, because that's just due diligence.
Still, it's interesting to look at the landscape of starting pitcher options right now. Ubaldo Jimenez is out there, but he would cost an exorbitant sum. Hiroki Kuroda is out there, but he has a full no-trade clause and isn't wild about leaving Los Angeles. Aaron Harang is out there, but he isn't very good. Jeremy Guthrie is out there, but he isn't very good. Jason Marquis is out there, but he isn't very good. Wandy Rodriguez is out there, but he'd cost a lot. Kevin Slowey is out there, but he isn't very good.
And so on. There are a lot of contending teams in search of starting pitching, but there isn't a lot of quality, affordable starting pitching to be had. Which is what makes Bedard so interesting. Bedard's health history is terrible. Just terrible. But he has all the talent in the world, and before he sustained a minor knee injury, he was pitching like an ace for two months. There's no other pitcher on the market that I know of who combines Bedard's ability with his presumptive reasonable cost, except maybe Rich Harden, who's a bigger risk.
So you can understand why he's drawing so much attention. Sure, a team could flip a C prospect for Aaron Harang, but what if it took a B or B+ prospect to get Erik Bedard? And what if Erik Bedard pitched like an ace down the stretch and in the playoffs? How often does a team have the opportunity to land an ace-level pitcher without paying an ace-level price?
Bedard's start on Friday is critical. Maybe not so much the results, but the appearance. If he's healthy and his stuff looks sharp, that could and should spark a bidding war. I don't know what the Mariners might be able to come away with, but it would be a player with promise.
Jon Heyman tweeted earlier that the Mariners haven't ruled out re-signing Bedard. It's evident that the Mariners like him, and it's more evident that Bedard really likes the Mariners. But, to me, this reads like strategy. Something the Mariners tell suitors in an attempt to raise Bedard's price. They could always re-sign Bedard in the offseason, and given how well he's pitched so far, he might end up out of their price range.
Anyway, there's a lot to think about, and there are a lot of ways this could go. Bedard's no guarantee to get dealt, especially if he looks bad or has a setback or whatever, but from the sounds of things, there's enough interest out there that, if Bedard does get moved, he should bring back a real talent.
As for Rosenthal's mention of the interest in Doug Fister, I suppose that's best left for another post that I may or may not write. We'll see!