The Bedard debate

As I scrolled through the comments yesterday, I noticed a little back-and-forth among fans regarding pitcher Erik Bedard. And since the forecast doesn’t call for an avalanche of news to bury the blog this week, I’ll gladly take the opportunity to turn the discussion into an entry.

(Before you ask, nobody is getting a check in the mail for giving me the idea. Nice try, though.)

Perlozzo and Bedard

Bedard carries the reputation as a guy who asks out of games early, who doesn’t shoulder enough of the workload to be deemed a legitimate No. 1 starter. That opinion was held by some people inside the organization when he pitched here, and I’ve heard it from others on the outside.

According to my math, Bedard averaged 5.9 innings per start for two consecutive years before topping out at 6.5 in his final season in Baltimore. He’s thrown one complete game in his career, which also produced his only shutout.

He’s not asking out after the fifth, but he’s not carrying the game to his closer, either. And he’s certainly not finishing what he started.

The biggest knock on Bedard was how often he’d come out of close games. He’d take a seat on the bench with the Orioles ahead, 1-0 or 2-1, and the bullpen would inevitably implode.

Manager Sam Perlozzo drew heavy criticism for his habit of intercepting Bedard on the top step of the dugout and asking whether his ace was tired. Critics suggested that the manager and pitching coach should have trusted their eyes and kept running him out there if he was still effective. And that Bedard should have put up a fight if given the choice.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t one of Bedard’s exits lead to that disastrous loss in D.C. that had fans calling for Perlozzo’s head before the Orioles had returned to the clubhouse?

Anyway, it’s obviously important to note that the Orioles wouldn’t be looking for Bedard to start on Opening Day and be the workhorse of the staff. He would be a low-risk signing, his one-year deal heavy in incentives. And it would only happen if he’d be available much sooner than some outlets are projecting.

Nobody should be overly concerned about his prickly attitude with the media, and I’m not worried about the young starters following his lead. They’re not quite that impressionable. They’d probably find him more amusing than worthy of emulating. And most of his teammates liked him, even if they didn’t all agree with the manner in which he conducted himself after starts.

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