The Mariners were just 2 1/2 games out of first place as recently as last Tuesday, but have dropped five straight to fall 7 1/2 back in the American League West. It’s probably safe to call them sellers at this point, but their most valuable trade chip isn’t ready to get back on the mound.
Erik Bedard was placed on the disabled list with a sprained left knee at the end of June. It appeared to be a minor injury at the time, especially considering his past arm issues, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge told Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune yesterday that the left-hander will need to miss at least one more start following the All-Star break.
“We’ll get him throwing on flat ground a few more times, give him a couple of bullpens and he’ll be ready,” Wedge said. “Blake (Beavan) will get that next start in Erik’s spot.”
This means that Bedard will have a maximum of two starts before the trade deadline to prove he’s healthy. And that’s assuming he’ll be ready to start during a series against the Red Sox from July 22-24. Yes, the Mariners could still deal him in August, but it’s a bit more complicated and they’d be less likely to get something significant in return.
Bedard didn’t throw a pitch in the majors in 2010, but has a 3.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP across 15 starts this season. He has an excellent 85/26 K/BB ratio over 90 innings of work.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.