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Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Street, Bedard deals not terrible

By David Schoenfield

DALLAS -- As we await bigger news, the San Diego Padres traded for Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street and the Pittsburgh Pirates signed left-handed starter Erik Bedard.

While it's easy to criticize both deals, I see some potential upside. Street was acquired for a player to be named, which usually means a lower-level prospect, and cash. Without a veteran reliever on staff to replace Heath Bell, the Padres weren't comfortable giving the job to a guy like Ernesto Frieri. Now, while it may not make sense for the last-place Padres to acquire a reliever owed $8 million in 2012 (including a $500,000 buyout), the upside is that Street has a chance to be very effective in San Diego.

As a guy who allows more fly balls than groundballs, he'll be moving from a terrible park for him in Colorado, to the perfect park for him. Street posted a 3.50 ERA in his three years with Colorado, but had a 2.88 ERA during his four years in Oakland. With San Diego, look for that ERA to slide back under 3.00. And if the Padres are out of the race in July (although in the NL West, where right now no team projects to win 90 games, anything is possible) and Street has a 1.94 ERA or something, they can trade him to a contender for a better prospect than they will give the Rockies.

I'm not saying I would have done this deal, but I can see how it could work out for San Diego.

For Pittsburgh, $4.5 million for Bedard is a fairly low-risk investment for a guy I thought was one of the sleeper free agents. Yes, Bedard has been injury-prone, but he did make 24 starts between Seattle and Boston last year and pitched effectively, with 125 strikeouts in 129.1 innings. Among AL pitchers with at least 100 innings, Bedard ranked seventh in strikeout rate.

Are the Pirates likely to be in the NL Central race? OK, probably not, but the same scenario exists as with the Padres: If Bedard is healthy he'll pitch well and the Pirates can flip him to a contender.

The CBA rules have made it more difficult for small-market teams to be creative in the draft, so this route is another way for a team like the Pirates to acquire prospects. I like the move.