The Bedard trade
Over at The Book Blog, its turned into a bit of a war between MGL and Studes. I'm not going to vote in that as I don't really have an opinion on the issue at hand.
MGL thinks its a horrible trade for the Mariners. Jones is an outstanding prospect, and he's now under Baltimore control for the next 5 years (they'll trade him after the 2012 season as they attempt yet another rebuilding), and the first 3 of those years should cost them less than 2 million dollars.
Bedard is an outstanding pitcher, and I happen to agree with his estimate of 4 wins over replacement. Bedard will make 8 million this year if he wins his arbitration case, 6 if he loses. Let's call it 7, since we don't know the outcome and its possible the 2 sides will settle for around that amount.
Orioles got more value over a longer time period (they also get a good reliever and 3 so-so pitching prospects), but the trade clearly makes the Mariners better for 2008. At this point, that's all I'm concerned about. I'll worry about 2009 when we get there.
The Mariners former options at #5 starter were replacement level pitchers. Bedard is now the ace, and everyone else slides back one spot. They now have a formidable rotation. Bedard improves the team by 4 wins.
As fine a prospect as Jones is, he's not quite arrived at superstardom yet. For 2008, I have him as 2 runs above average as a hitter, another 5 above average defensively in a corner OF spot. Without Jones on the roster, the Mariners paid 3 million dollars to bring in Brad Wilkerson. I have Brad as a -1 hitter and +4 defender, or 4 runs worse than Jones. So its a total 4 run dropoff, this year, from keeping Jones. Losing George Sherrill and having to use another reliever hurts them by only about 1-2 runs, according to the CHONE projections.
The Mariners pay about 10 million extra bucks and improve their team by 3.5 wins, not a bad immediate return. Yes, its going to look worse for the Mariners 3 years from now, but they have solidified their spot as our biggest divisional threat. Instead of a 79 win team, I've got them now at 83. We still should have no trouble beating them, it just won't be as easy.