It's never easy trading away a young, star player -- especially a pitcher -- and when the Orioles sent Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners in the off-season deal, there was considerable apprehension, even among Orioles fans who realized that the team needed to rebuild and that you have you give up something to get something.
But in the early going, at least, the Orioles seem to have gotten a steal -- actually a couple of steals, in the five-for-one trade that made the lefty a Mariner. Those would be center fielder Adam Jones and pitcher George Sherrill.
Last night's deciding run, a solo homer in the seventh inning that helped the O's to a 3-2 victory over Minnesota, came courtesy of the 22-year-old Jones, whose play has been quietly encouraging. He hasn't shown enormous power by that should come as he develops. After going quiet at the plate for the last 10 days or so of May, this month Jones has hit .368 with 7 RBIs, including a couple of game-winning blows. For the year, he's a respectable .256 with three home runs and 24 RBIs batting mostly at the bottom of the order.
Sherrill, meanwhile, has been one constant in an up-and-down Orioles' season that now sees the O's again inching toward .500 (29-30). A rock as a closer, Sherrill last night notched his 20th save.
Meanwhile, in Bedard's time with Seattle, he has been something far short of the Cy Young-caliber pitcher Orioles fans recall from last year. And his new team is similarly suffering at 18 games under .500. In a column in today's Sun, I wrote about the tribulations suffered by both Bedard and former manager Sam Perlozzo, now a coach for the Mariners, earlier this week. Bedard is struggling at 4-4 with a bloated ERA of 4.47. After failing to get out of the fourth inning Tuesday in a loss to the Angels, Seattle fans booed him off the mound.
Mariners GM Bill Bavasi, in an interview with a Seattle paper, wouldn't say he was disappointed with Bedard but did admit that he was perplexed. Bavasi on Bedard: "He cannot seem to get his feet on the ground in Seattle. He cannot get his arms around it yet. You see a brilliant outing, and then you see an awful outing. Right now, I wish his wheels didn't come off so easily."