I realize that many Dodger fans may not actually know much about Erik Bedard. Heck, I'm a huge baseball fan, have about 3 fantasy teams every year, and even I hardly knew a thing about him. Yet, he's one of the hottest names brought up in trade talk all throughout the Winter Meetings, and will probably continue to be discussed since he was never dealt. Let's take a look at him.
After getting 2 starts in 2002 with Baltimore, he's been in the rotation every year since then, topping out at 33 starts in 2006. The first couple of stats that jump out at me are that his ERA and WHIP have improved every year. ERA totals: 4.59, 4.00, 3.76, 3.16. WHIP totals: 1.60, 1.38, 1.35, 1.09. A 1.09 WHIP this past year? That's very impressive, especially considering the tough AL East division he's in.
He started to make a name for himself in 2006, going 15-6 with 171 K's in 196.1 innings. This past season, everything came together for him. He was 13-5 with a whopping 221 K's in 182 innigs. WOW. Even more impressive are his stats against the Red Sox and Yankees (you know, those 2 teams that rarely get talked about and have modest payrolls). Against the Sox he was 1-0, 13 K's, 3.29 ERA, 0.95 WHIP. Against the Yankees he was 2-0, 21 K's, 1.29 ERA, 0.67 WHIP. Not too shabby.
As far as rankings go, he is right up there in the major categories: ERA - 4th, WHIP - 2nd, strikeouts - 3rd, BAA - 1st. He's tied for 19th in wins, but that would be so much better if his team was even halfway decent. In the American League, being at the top of any of those categories is no easy task.
Since the Orioles continue to be a mess of over-priced veterans or youngsters that don't produce, it only makes sense that they try to shop him around hoping to get some quality young players in return. They're trying to do the same thing with Miguel Tejada. Playing in the same division as the Sox and Yanks, trying to build your team not by adding expensive pieces but by building from within is a smart way to go. The O's tried to compete with guys like Javy Lopez and Danys Baez and flunked with flying colors. Rebuilding the entire system is the proper call.
Here's what I would do if I ran the Dodgers. Since they appear to be serious about getting Bedard, I would offer up both Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche, along with another minor league player whose last name isn't Kershaw. Along with Kershaw, James Loney and Jonothan Broxton should be untouchable. Kemp could be a star, but you've got to give up someone. LaRoche could be the same thing, but I'm just not as sold on him yet, so I wouldn't be heartbroken to see him go. The deal is basically 2-for-1 with another lower end prospect thrown in to make it work.
I know Ned Colletti said he doesn't want to give up 3 or 4 guys for 1, but a rotation of Bedard, Penny, Lowe, Billingsley, and hopefully Schmidt would be pretty damn good. Andre Either can be given a shot to shine in right field without platooning. Another third baseman would need to be pursued seeing as how Nomar Garciaparra can't be trusted health-wise anymore. But, it's a deal worth doing in my mind. I would take that pitching rotation against anybody else in the playoffs.