Erik Bedard, Pittsburgh Pirates Reach Agreement

ARLINGTON, TX: Erik Bedard #23 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up a three-run home run against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Pirates are signing free agent starting pitcher Erik Bedard to a one-year contract worth a $4.5 million base salary.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the makings of a not-terrible starting rotation. However, it is a rotation without a clear ace, unless you really believe in Jeff Karstens' 3.38 ERA. How might the Pirates go about finding a potential ace without spending too many of the resources they don't really have?

Marc Brassard knows how:

Érik Bédard, de Navan, va signer un contrat d'un an pour 4,5 M $ plus primes avec les Pirates de Pittsburgh ce PM, a appris le Droit.

That's in French. Wow, French isn't English! What it says: Erik Bedard is signing a $4.5 million, one-year contract with the Pirates, and the contract comes with incentives. Brassard isn't a journalist most of you have on your radar, but he's a writer for Bedard's hometown paper and he's broken Bedard news before, so there's no reason to think this is fake.

There's absolutely no questioning Bedard's talent. Why, just look at his last three seasons of performance!

ERA ERA+ HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
3.67 116 1.0 4.1 8.0
2.82 153 0.9 3.7 9.8
3.62 110 1.0 3.3 8.7


Such good numbers! One must wonder why Bedard didn't gather more attention, and why he signed for so little! Sure, there are some issues with walks, but the strikeouts are good, and the ERA is good, and overall this looks like a No. 1 or No. 2 starter.

But of course, that table is deliberately misleading, in a way you already know. That table goes back to 2008. Bedard didn't throw a pitch in the majors in 2010. Since being traded from Baltimore, Bedard has made all of 54 starts over four years, encountering near-constant injuries of varying types. He's had problems with his hip. He's had problems with his shoulder. Last year he had problems with his knee. Bedard's a guy you talk about the way you talk about Rich Harden. He's good when he's healthy, but you can never count on him to be healthy.

That's why Bedard was affordable, and that's why Bedard didn't get more attention from big-name suitors with big-time plans. At the same time, the thing about guys like Bedard is that they allow you wonder "well what if this is the year that he doesn't get hurt? He could be a real ace!" Bedard, and pitchers like him, can capture imaginations.

Then reality usually hits. If Bedard is to get hurt again - and, honestly, he'll probably get hurt again - the Pirates will hope it isn't until after they trade him in July or August. Unless this is the year the Pirates get it together and make a run at the playoffs. Then they'll really want Bedard to be that healthy ace. Which, I guess you never know.

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