It’s official. Erik Bedard has finally been traded to the Mariners. After weeks of speculation, it’s done. Let’s take a look at how each player involved is affected.
Mariners get: SP Erik Bedard
Orioles get: OF Adam Jones, RP George Sherrill, SP Chris Tillman, SP Tony Butler, and RP Kam Mickolio.
Value changes: Bedard gains a little value. Jones gains value. Sherrill gains value. Mickolio loses a little value. Tillman and Butler are relatively unaffected.
Mariners indirectly affected: SP/RP Brandon Morrow loses value. SP Horacio Ramirez loses value. RP Sean Green gains value. OF Brad Wilkerson gains value.
Orioles indirectly affected: SP Garrett Olson gains value. SP Hayden Penn gains value. SP Troy Patton, SP Matt Albers, and SP/RP Brian Burres gain value. RP Jamie Walker loses value. RP Chad Bradford loses value. RP Greg Aquino loses value. RP James Hoey, RP Cory Doyne, and RP Fernando Cabrera lose value. OF Jay Payton loses value. 2B Brian Roberts, OF Luke Scott, OF Nick Markakis all gain a little value. 1B/3B Aubrey Huff loses just a little value.
Erik Bedard is a very good pitcher. In 2007, he led all starting pitchers with a 3.13 LIPS ERA while striking out just under 11 batters per game and walking under 3. He might not be able to repeat those strikeout figures, though, considering he had a consistent K/9 between 7.84 and 7.94 from 2004-2006. 2007 was also his first year with a BB/9 under 3.00. He’s still just 29 years, but has never thrown more than 197 innings.
As far as his value shift from this trade is concerned, though, it looks favorable. Camden increased homers by 19% in 2007 and by 10% since 2005. Safeco increased homers by just 2% in 2007 and reduced them by 9% since 2005. That’s a 19% swing in home run reduction.
The THT Season Preview has both offenses producing similarly (when we look at them without this trade), so there’s little ‘win value’ gained or lost. There’s a chance the Orioles trade Brian Roberts, though, and the dropoff to Freddy Bynum is pretty significant, which improves Bedard’s value a bit. The THT Season Preview also sees the two defenses as very similar, so there shouldn’t be much ‘BABIP value’ gained or lost either.
Overall, it looks like Bedard gains some value from this. He should give up fewer home runs while receiving similar offensive and defensive support. He doesn’t gain as much value as Johan Santana did from his trade, but you can still move Bedard up your draft board a few spots.
After Bedard, Adam Jones is the next most significant piece of this deal. His batting average, homers, and steals all figure to be better in Baltimore than they would in Seattle. Between the two parks, we see a 29% upward swing in right-handed hitter home runs since 2005. We also see a 10% upward swing in right-handed hitter batting average since 2005.
While John McLaren (Mariners) and Dave Trembley (Orioles) took over their respective teams in the middle of 2007 — meaning we have a pretty small sample size to work with — their stolen base tendencies are favorable for Jones. McLaren had his team attempt just 0.67 steals per game compared to Trembley’s 1.33 steals per game. Granted, this was an Orioles team that had Brian Roberts, Corey Patterson, and Nick Markakis, but as least Trembley isn’t afraid to run with his fast players. Patterson is gone, and if they lose Roberts, he might let Jones run more.
He also probably gains value in RBI and runs. MLB.com had him projected to bat 7th for Seattle, but he could easily move into the cleanup spot for Baltimore, pushing Aubrey Huff down to 5th. Losing Roberts would hurt his RBI production a little bit, but the improved spot in the order would compensate for it. If Roberts is traded, he could also be moved into the #1 or #2 spot, which would help with runs but hurt with RBIs and his overall value.
Regardless, Jones looks like he gains value all-around.
Pitchers indirectly affected
George Sherrill gets a big boost from this trade. He goes from waiting behind perhaps the most dominant closer in baseball, J.J. Putz, to the favorite for saves in Baltimore. There is plenty of depth in the Baltimore bullpen (all of whom lose value with this trade) and could get overtaken, but he’s the guy with the best skills and the inside track for the job.
In Seattle, this means a new #2 is needed in the bullpen. Sean Green is the favorite, although with Bedard in the rotation, Brandon Morrow will likely stay in the bullpen as competition. This hurts Morrow’s value overall, but there’s a chance he finds himself saving games in 2008. Horacio Ramirez is also probably out of the rotation, sapping him of value.
With Bedard leaving, Garrett Olson should be able to claim a rotation spot. He’s showed some talent in the minors and should be watched carefully. He’ll battle with Troy Patton, Hayden Penn, and Matt Albers for two spots, and I think he’s the surest of the four to get one. Brian Burres might also be in the mix. Many are saying Patton is the favorite for the final spot, but his peripherals were pretty bad in the minors. Even if he does make it, Penn could easily replace him shortly into the season. He seems to have the better skills.
Everything being said, my money is on Olson and Penn to throw the most starter innings of the bunch.
Hitters indirectly affected
The biggest beneficiary of this trade is Brad Wilkerson. He should have right field all to himself with Jones gone. Safeco isn’t the friendliest place for home runs, but Wilkerson will hit more starting than coming off the bench. Jay Payton, conversely, stands to lose the most from this trade with Jones taking over center, pushing him to the bench.
If Jones is installed in the #4 or #5 spot in Baltimore’s order, the batters ahead of him would probably get a slight boost in runs. If Aubrey Huff (currently projected to bat #4) is pushed back a spot, he’d lose some at-bats and a few ticks off his counting stats… nothing major. If Brian Roberts is traded and Jones ends up batting first or second, whoever is behind him would likely lose a few RBIs.
Mickolo moves to Baltimore where the bullpen is very crowded. He loses a little value. Tillman and Butler have never pitched an inning of Double-A ball, so their value is relatively unaffected.