O's deny deal in place with Seattle for Bedard

Andy MacPhail denied last night that the Orioles have agreed to a deal that would send ace pitcher Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners for a package headed by young center fielder Adam Jones.

"We do not have an agreement with the Mariners," said MacPhail, Orioles president of baseball operations.


Reports of the deal started yesterday after The Seattle Times said Jones told a reporter in Venezuela that he was ordered by the Mariners to pull out of the winter league playoffs there because he was headed to Baltimore to get a physical. MacPhail disputed that, saying Jones was not coming to the Warehouse for a physical.

It's not uncommon for teams to deny a trade or free-agent signing until physicals - if they are deemed necessary - are completed. However, a team source said last night that trade talks involving Bedard were ongoing and the Orioles had not agreed to a deal with the Mariners or anybody else.


Mark Pieper, Bedard's agent, said last night that he had not heard from either the Mariners or Orioles and had no knowledge that a deal was complete.

However, Jones, a multi-tooled 22-year-old who is one of baseball's best prospects, reportedly said he was told he was the "centerpiece of the deal" for Bedard. According to one industry source, the Mariners are also offering reliever George Sherrill, pitching prospect Chris Tillman and one or two other prospects for Bedard. Sherrill told The Seattle Times last night that he also hadn't been told he was traded. However, Jones apparently has.

"[Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi] called me yesterday and told me the news. I've got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there," Jones told a reporter from Diario Panorama in Venezuela, according to the Times. "I'm the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners side. It's an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is. He's one of the best. Last year, he finished up as arguably one of the top candidates for the Cy Young. He's that good, so for me it's an honor.

"You know, I like Seattle, but if I am in Baltimore, as I think now I am, I'm going to embrace it."

Luis Sojo, manager of Cardenales de Lara, Jones' winter league team, also told the Venezuelan newspaper Jones was leaving the team because he was going to take a physical.

The Orioles have been listening to offers for Bedard for much of the offseason as MacPhail attempts to rebuild an organization that has suffered 10 straight losing seasons.

Late last week, indications were that a Mariners deal for Bedard was imminent. Bavasi acknowledged to reporters he was primed to make a trade for an elite starting pitcher.

"I think we will [get a deal done]," Bavasi said. "I think there's a good chance of that."


MacPhail had said he hoped to make a decision on Bedard and All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts, who has also figured prominently in trade discussions, by the end of the month. But he also said there was no concrete deadline.