Erik Bedard can’t get any help

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Erik Bedard is hardly the only quality pitcher still winless on the season. Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Dempster, Cliff Lee and and Bruce Chen all have ERAs of 2.00 or better and are still sporting zeroes in the win column.

None of those guys, though, have taken more than two losses. Bedard was just tagged with his fourth today after allowing three runs — two earned — in seven innings against the Cardinals. Bedard has allowed just eight runs — seven earned — on the season, but the Pirates have scored a total of three in his four starts, giving him the 0-4 record.

It didn’t have to be this way. Bedard surely would have drawn interest from contenders had he waited until some of the top pitchers were off the market last winter. Instead, he jumped at Pittsburgh’s $4.5 million guarantee on Dec. 7. I wonder if he’d make the same choice again.

Royals to sign Billy Hamilton

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LAS VEGAS — Jim Bowden reports that the Kansas City Royals are close to agreement with outfielder Billy Hamilton. He says they are “just working through bonuses and pending physical.” Hamilton was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds a couple of weeks ago following six seasons with the club, making him a free agent.

Hamilton is one of the fastest men to ever play the game, but he has never come around as a hitter. In his six seasons with the Reds he put up a line of .245/.298/.333 (OPS+ 70). While he has stolen 277 bases over that period, getting caught 63 times, he has never once led the league in steals, primarily because he just doesn’t get on base enough. He is an excellent center fielder, but the bat is so sub-par that even the glove and the wheels are not good enough to justify going to arbitration with him.

Perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. He will certainly bring some excitement to Kansas City. He’s a fun guy to watch play.