Where in the world is Erik Bedard?

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Watching guys like Rich Harden and Jason Marquis get rich this offseason brings a question to mind: Where in the world is Erik Bedard?

No one is expecting the left-hander to get a huge contract this offseason, but you’d think there would at least be a little bit of buzz over the oft-injured, frequently surly, yet extremely talented southpaw.

How about a one-year deal? Maybe a contract based heavily on incentives like innings pitched, starts, and interviews conducted without snide remarks? An invite to spring training? Anyone? Hello? Bueller?

Well it turns out there is one heckuva good reason no one is talking about Bedard. As Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports, no one knows when he’ll actually be able to pitch again.

The problem is, nobody really has a handle on when he’ll actually be back. The most optimistic suggestions I’ve heard from around the game is that Bedard could be ready to pitch in a major league game by May.

On the pessimistic side, I’m hearing he’s unlikely to be ready by the first half.

Baker mentions that it’s possible Bedard could return to the Mariners, and that the Orioles have shown interest. But nothing is going to happen soon. Bedard, who has made only 15 starts in each of the last two seasons and has never topped 200 innings in his seven years in the bigs, just can’t get healthy. And there’s no reason to throw money at a guy who will only give you a doctor bill in return.

Speaking of medical evaluations, I imagine any conversation between a team doctor and Bedard would go something like this, with apologies to Airplane!:

Team doctor: Erik, how soon can you pitch?
Bedard: I can’t tell.
Doc: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Bedard: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Doc: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Bedard: Well, not for another two hours.
Doc: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Report: Padres have made offers to both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper

Manny Machado
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Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.

Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.

The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.

Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.