Will Someone Give Erik Bedard a Chance?
When Erik Bedard lost out to Jake Odorizzi in the Tampa Bay Rays’ fifth starter race, it was only a matter of time until he moved on. Now it is official. The Rays released Bedard, who will look for big league opportunities elsewhere. The question is going to be whether he gets one. Especially after Alex Colome‘s suspension, the Rays would love to have Bedard come back to the team and head to Triple-A. What is the probability that Bedard will actually do that? Let’s go through each team’s projected rotation and see if Bedard would be an option for anyone.
Atlanta Braves: Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana, Alex Wood, David Hale, Aaron Harang with Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd eventually coming back
Before Harang signed with the Braves, it looked like Bedard had a chance. Instead, the Braves will go with the trio of recent top prospects Teheran, Wood, and Hale plus the veterans Santana and Harang.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Wade Miley, Bronson Arroyo, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, Randall Delgado, Archie Bradley
The D-Backs took a huge hit when Patrick Corbin got injured, but they still possess solid depth. No room for Bedard here.
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen
It would be pretty cool if Bedard returned to Baltimore, but this starting five is solid enough and top prospect Kevin Gausman will eventually get another chance. A reunion would come at Triple-A, and Bedard is hoping for more than that.
Boston Red Sox: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront
Bedard has 8 starts as a member of the Red Sox under his belt, and it will stay that way. Allen Webster and Brandon Workman are addition options beyond these first five.
Chicago Cubs: Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Travis Wood, Chris Rusin, Jake Arrieta, Carlos Villanueva, James McDonald
No one says this rotation is going to dominate, but with that many recognizable pitchers in the mix, you have to think the Cubs will find a solid starting five and one or two starters when needed.
Chicago White Sox: Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks, Erik Johnson, Felipe Paulino
The White Sox don’t have openings in their rotation at the moment, but Danks and Paulino have not exactly been the picture of health. Bedard could head to Triple-A and hope for a call-up.
Cincinnati Reds: Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Tony Cingriani, Alfredo Simon, and Mat Latos when he returns
Cueto and Bailey have also not been completely healthy in spring training, and Simon is a wild card as a starter. Even if Bedard couldn’t start games for the Reds, he could be a candidate for their injury-depleted bullpen. The Reds could be a real fit.
Cleveland Indians: Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin, Shaun Marcum
The first three are good but spent time on the disabled list in 2013. Salazar is a rookie, which comes with its concerns. The last three are total wild cards. The Indians would probably take another name to thrown into the ring, but it’s doubtful that being one of eight is the type of opportunity Bedard is looking for. We also can’t forget Trevor Bauer.
Colorado Rockies: Jorge De La Rosa, Brett Anderson, Tyler Chatwood, Juan Nicasio, Franklin Morales, Jordan Lyles, and Jhoulys Chacin when he returns
There is some real talent in this Rockies rotation, although whether enough of them can stay healthy and perform is a question. Bedard could hope for a chance if he signed at Triple-A, but that’s about it.
Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Drew Smyly, Rick Porcello
Doug Fister is gone, but the Tigers still have a strong starting five. It is doubtful that a pitcher like Bedard would interest them.
Houston Astros: Scott Feldman, Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Brad Peacock, Jerome Williams
Could Bedard’s team from 2013 give him a chance to return? There is a possibility that Bedard could be better than pitchers like Peacock, Jerome Williams, Dallas Keuchel, and Luke Harrell, but the Astros have nothing to gain signing Bedard just for a slight upgrade. They will be giving their prospects a chance, using the veterans they have to fill in where needed.
Kansas City Royals: James Shields, Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, Jeremy Guthrie, Bruce Chen
The Royals can’t be sure what they’re going to get from Chen, but Danny Duffy is a another option. It looks like the Royals are satisfied with the pitchers they have.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Hector Santiago, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs
With Santiago and Skaggs coming aboard this offseason, the Angeles have high hopes from their rotation. With several other arms behind them, Bedard does not have a spot.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Dan Haren, Paul Maholm
With Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett out to begin the year, the Dodgers’ rotation does not look quite as formidable as it could be, but Haren and Maholm are both better regarded than Bedard at this point.
Miami Marlins: Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Justin Turner, Tom Koehler, Brad Hand, Kevin Slowey
There is a chance that Bedard could be better than any of the last three, but with the Marlins unlikely to contend this year, signing Bedard would be a waste of time.
Milwaukee Brewers: Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta
The Brewers would be an interesting fit for Bedard because Garza and Estrada are injury prone and Peralta still has something to prove in his second big league season. Bedard would not get a job from the get-go, but this would be a team that would offer him big league time at some point.
Minnesota Twins: Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Kyle Gibson
The Twins made some moves this offseason and will have four solid veterans and a top prospect in their rotation. Samuel Deduno can serve as depth. The Twins have potentially their best rotation in a while, and they have found themselves dealing pitchers (like Vance Worley), not signing them.
New York Mets: Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jenrry Mejia, John Lannan, and Jon Niese when he comes back
We have to wonder how effective Matsuzaka and Lannan will be, and Mejia is still an unproven quantity, but this could quietly solid rotation even without Matt Harvey. They don’t need Bedard.
New York Yankees: C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda
If Sabathia and Pineda regain their olds forms, this is going to be a very interesting rotation. The Yankees have David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Vidal Nuno as additional depth, so Bedard will not be on their radar.
Oakland Athletics: Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily, Tommy Milone, Drew Pomeranz
Jarrod Parker was a big loss, but the A’s still have pitching depth built up.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick, Roberto Hernandez, and Cole Hamels, Ethan Martin, and Jonathan Pettibone when they return
It’s not good that we only have four healthy pitchers listed for the Phillies, but Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is another option as the Phillies hope to get by. Nevertheless, Bedard could join the team and hope to seize that fifth starter job until the other pitchers can return. Even if he only gets a few starts, another opportunity will come if he pitches effectively.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Wandy Rodriguez, Edinson Volquez, and Jeff Locke when he’s ready
These Pirates starting pitchers do not have the best track records for health, but the Pirates have plenty of depth and Jameson Taillon could be another impressive starter when he makes his major league debut. Bedard will not be returning to Pittsburgh.
San Diego Padres: Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, Eric Stults, Robbie Erlin, Matt Wisler, and Josh Johnson when he returns
Bedard would love to pitch at Petco, but the Padres should be fine with what they even after losing Johnson to begin the year.
San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong
Vogelsong was terrible last year, but the Giants will give him another chance. But with Vogelsong and Lincecum question marks while Hudson is a possible injury candidate, the Giants could sign Bedard as an alternate option.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, James Paxton, Blake Beavan, Roenis Elias, and Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker when they return
The Mariners’ current rotation is not too formidable, but they do have a pair of very good pitchers who will not be out for too long. Bedard’s opportunity with the Mariners would be limited.
St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly
This is an awfully good rotation and only the start of the Cardinals’ multiplicity of talented arms. Bedard will not be going to St. Louis.
Tampa Bay Rays: David Price, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi
We already know the answer to this one.
Texas Rangers: Martin Perez, Joe Saunders, Tanner Scheppers, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, and Yu Darvish when he returns
The Rangers have already made their moves to shore up their depth after losing Derek Holland. With Darvish missing Opening Day but likely not too much more, Bedard missed his opening.
Toronto Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison, J.A. Happ
The Jays’ rotation is unlikely to dominate, but with additional depth beyond these five (Marcus Stroman, Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers), the Blue Jays do not need another back-end starter like Bedard.
Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark, Taylor Jordan
The top four is dominant, and the bottom two plus Ross Detwiler should be more than serviceable out of the fifth spot. Sorry, Erik.
After going through all the teams, it looks like the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies are the most likely to offer Erik Bedard a big league roster spot, with the White Sox, Rockies, and Mariners possibly having a slight interest as well. There is a chance that Bedard’s opt-out will work to perfection and he will find himself with a big league job. However, with only two legitimate fits and Bedard not knocking anyone’s socks off in spring training, it would not be surprising to find him at the Rays’ Triple-A Durham affiliate when the season begins.