Agitated Bedard feeling unwanted

Ace pitcher Erik Bedard said yesterday that he is resigned to being traded this season and is disappointed that the Orioles haven't made a greater effort to sign him to a contract extension.

"If they don't want me, [a trade] is the best thing to do," Bedard said in a phone interview with The Sun. "Obviously, they don't want to keep me because there are a lot more talks [about] trading me than signing me. What am I supposed to do? I just go with the flow. I'll keep it as it is, and go with it, day by day."


Bedard's comments surprised Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail because he had approached Mark Pieper, Bedard's agent, about a contract extension for the pitcher earlier this offseason and was told that Bedard preferred going on a year-to-year basis. Bedard, 28, is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.

"We wanted to talk about a multiyear deal and they suggested that they just do a one-year deal," MacPhail said. "That's the truth."


The Orioles made no extension proposal after they were told of Bedard's intentions.

Pieper acknowledged that the two sides talked conceptually about a three-year contract that would have bought out one of Bedard's free-agent years. Bedard made it clear yesterday that he has no interest in pitching for a rebuilding team.

Meanwhile, indications continue to mount that Bedard, who went 13-5 last season with a 3.16 ERA and established himself as a legitimate Cy Young candidate, could be traded next week.

MacPhail has said the club would like to make a decision on the future of Bedard and All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts by the end of the month, though he said earlier this week that there was no concrete deadline.

However, Seattle Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi, who has long coveted Bedard and has been involved in trade talks with MacPhail for the past two months, told Seattle reporters Thursday that he is primed to make a deal for an elite starting pitcher.

"We're prepared to move. ... As I'm sitting here today, I think we will [make a trade]. I think there's a good chance of that," Bavasi said, adding that his best offer is on the table. "For us right now, the most important thing is the top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Not just a No. 2, 3 or 4 guy. A No. 1 guy."

Bavasi didn't specify that the pitcher is Bedard - if he had, that could be considered tampering - but he didn't really need to. Johan Santana is the only other No. 1 starter available on the free-agent or trade market and the Mariners reportedly have dropped out of the running for the Minnesota Twins ace and are focused on Bedard.

In return, the Mariners are offering a package headed by outfielder Adam Jones, 22, who is considered one of the best prospects in baseball. The Orioles also are high on 6-foot-5 right-handed starter Chris Tillman, a 19-year-old who was Seattle's minor league pitcher of the year last season; and Carlos Triunfel, a slick-fielding shortstop who will turn 18 next month.


Bavasi said he isn't afraid to trade talented prospects to land an ace pitcher.

It's unknown whether the Mariners would trade all three - one league source said Triunfel was off-limits.

Bedard found it pointless to discuss Seattle or any other potential landing spot, saying that at this point, he's still planning to report to spring training in about three weeks as an Oriole. He said nearly every day this offseason, he has been approached by a friend or family member who tells him the latest trade rumor involving the pitcher.

"If they really didn't want to trade me, there probably wouldn't be that much talk," said Bedard, who said he is fully recovered from the oblique injury that cost him the last month of the season. "But I'm not hurt. You have to understand how the business works."

Bedard, while saying he is content remaining with the Orioles, also said he has no interest pitching for a team that is in full rebuilding mode. He called the December trade of star shortstop Miguel Tejada - the first move in MacPhail's rebuilding project - a surprise but figured the Orioles would sign or trade for a big bat to replace Tejada.

When they didn't, and Bedard learned that the club was also in discussions with the Chicago Cubs about Roberts, Bedard concluded that he might be traded, too.


"Let's just say that I wouldn't want to be in a rebuilding process, because by the time my contract ends, we're finally starting to get good," Bedard said. "That's the hard part of rebuilding. It takes a long time, and you need a lot of patience. It's not just me. I think everybody is [sick of losing] from the ground up."

However, Bedard said he is still open to discussing a contract extension, a departure from his viewpoint earlier this offseason, according to MacPhail.

"There's not an offer on the table," Bedard said. "They're playing it both ways. I don't know how they go about doing their business. It's none of my business, and I don't really care. But I would consider [an extension]. I've enjoyed my time in Baltimore. But everything would have to be right, and it would have to be for what I believe I'm worth."