Friday, February 8, 2008

A Real Deal

I hate to keep piling on the Twins here, so I'll make this short.

The Baltimore Orioles completed a trade today that sent their ace lefty, Erik Bedard, to the Seattle Mariners for five players including former top prospect, outfielder Adam Jones. And I bring this up to point out just how painfully short the Twins came up in their trading of Johan Santana.

Don't get me wrong here, I love Bedard as a pitcher and in 2007 he had a career year striking out 221 batters in only 182 innings. But as great as he was for a bad Orioles team in 2007, his body of work pales in comparison to Santana's.

Last year marked the first time Bedard struck out 200+ batters in a season. Santana has accomplished that feat four years in a row since becoming a full time starter in 2004.

Bedard posted a career-best 3.16 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 2007. Santana's career-bests in those categories are 2.61(2004) and 0.92(2004) respectively. Not to mention the fact that Santana is a two-time Cy Young Award winner while Bedard's best finish in the race for the coveted award was 5th which came last year.

Both are 28 years old and Bedard is actually eight days older than Santana, but still with all that the Orioles were able to extract a ready-right-now talent like Jones as well as a top flight lefty reliever in George Sherrill who will most likely compete for the closer job in Baltimore.

On top of that the Orioles landed a trio of minor league pitchers, all of whom ranked in the Mariners top 18 prospects according to Baseball America's 2008 Prospect Handbook.

Granted the three pitchers the Twins landed in the Santana trade ranked among the Mets top seven prospects, but Baltimore's ability to bring in a guy like Jones, who will most likely be the team's starting center fielder, is where they beat the Twins in moving their ace.

No one except those intimately involved in the negotiations knows what circumstances led to the Twins basically being left with no other choice but to take the deal with the Mets, but one thing is for certain and that is that the Orioles managed to do what the Twins could not and get fair market value for one of the best pitchers in the game.

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