For a long time, we thought it was inevitable, only to see it delayed over and over. Now it has finally taken place. With Joel Peralta coming off the disabled list, the Tampa Bay Rays have designated Erik Bedard for assignment.
Despite this undistinguished end to his Rays tenure–it certainly would have been cooler if he was traded–the signing of Erik Bedard to a minor league deal was a resounding success for the Rays. When the Rays signed Beadard, it seemed pretty pointless. The Rays had plenty of starting depth, and it was unclear that Bedard had anything left to give the team even if the opportunity did arise. But injuries to Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Alex Cobb gave Bedard an extended chance, and he seized the opportunity. Overall, Bedard went 4-6 with a 4.71 ERA, but in 12 starts from April 29th to June 28th, Bedard looked something like his own self, going 4-4 with a 3.71 ERA and a 58-20 strikeout to walk ratio in 63 innings pitched. The Rays went 6-6 in his starts despite going just 23-34 overall during that stretch. The Rays were hanging on the edge of making even a miracle comeback impossible, and Bedard ensured that they did not topple over.
At this point, Erik Bedard seems unlikely to net anything in return for the Rays, but the way he pitched makes his signing worthwhile nonetheless. Bedard will likely pass through waivers and elect free agency, and afterwards he will get the chance to return to the mound. After Bedard pitched just twice in July for the Rays, he will be able to sign a minor league contract and get a few Triple-A starts to see if he can make a big league impact again later on in the season. Rays fans should be appreciative of what Erik Bedard gave their team and amazed that even when everything went wrong, the Rays managed to find a serviceable starter to help keep their team alive.