• There has been so much talk for so long about the Cubs trading for Brian Roberts
, you might think that deal would go down 30 seconds after the Erik Bedard trade is official. Uh, not so fast. According to teams that have spoken to the Cubs and Orioles, they still haven't settled on any of the specifics. The Orioles would get back a starting pitcher -- either Sean Gallagher
or Sean Marshall
. But beyond that, nothing is particularly concrete. Felix Pie
has been much-rumored as the second piece. But when one baseball man was asked whether Pie was likely to be in the trade, he replied: "I doubt it."
• One of the worst-kept secrets in baseball last year was Bedard's open feud with his old pitching coach, Leo Mazzone, which led to widespread rumblings that Bedard was uncoachable. But one baseball man who knows Bedard laughs at that theory.
"Overrated," he said. "Erik can be stubborn. Very stubborn. But what's so unusual about that? A lot of good pitchers are stubborn. You think (Tom) Glavine and (John) Smoltz agreed with everything Leo said? Hell, no. They were just smarter about it. They might not have agreed with Leo, but at least they listened. Erik didn't listen at all. Those other guys didn't always listen, either. They just didn't broadcast it like Erik did."
• Are Bedard and Felix Hernandez
about to become the most dominant top-of-the-rotation tag team in the American League? They just might. Bedard is one of the top half-dozen pitchers in the whole sport. And one AL executive says of Felix: "There's a Josh Beckett
season in there somewhere."
We'd take that duo over Beckett-Dice-K, Halladay-Burnett, Wang-Pettitte, Verlander-Bonderman or Lackey-Escobar. But one NL evaluator says he'd still take one pair ahead of all of them -- C.C. Sabathia
and Fausto Carmona
"The reason I don't think Bedard and Felix match them," he said, "is innings. Both guys give you the lefty-righty combo. But C.C. and Carmona give you serious innings. One thing about C.C.: He takes the frigging ball."
• But Bedard and Hernandez aren't the only arms that other teams drool over in that Seattle mix. "The kid I'd like to see them put in that rotation is Brandon Morrow
," said one NL executive. "I think you're looking at another (Justin) Verlander."
• One other thing we should mention: Every
baseball man we've polled rates the Orioles' return for Bedard as being vastly superior to the Twins' return for Johan Santana
, assuming the rumored names are correct.
"oozes tools," said one scout. Another had this review: "I think he'll be a very good offensive player, with exceptional defense." Jones has been compared to both Torii Hunter
and Mike Cameron
. But the second scout said: "He could be better than either one of those guys." And the primary pitching piece, Chris Tillman, is such a scout favorite that one says: "When it's all said and done, he'll be the one guy in this deal everybody talks about."