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.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.