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Former Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard pitched into the ninth inning yesterday against the Oakland A's and gave up no runs and just three hits. He is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts and is tied for the American League lead with 15 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.

Now, I know for a fact that he got a little nostalgic for Baltimore last year and he can become a free agent after this year, but here's the Bedard paradox. If he has a stellar year -- and he certainly has the talent to win 17 games and have a top five ERA -- he's actually less likely to end up back here than if he wins 13 games and has a 3.90 ERA.

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If he has a great year, he could be the top free agent pitcher on the market, which would probably price him out of Baltimore, since Andy MacPhail has made it clear that he prefers to develop pitching and use the free agent market to fill holes in the everyday lineup.

Obviously, the Orioles are going to be focused on the bright pitchers they already have in the organization, but even if Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz are close, there's room for another front-line guy if they really hope to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox in 2010 and beyond.

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