Rumors concerning the Mariners acquiring SP Erik Bedard (96/94) from the Orioles refuse to die. The latest I have seen is that the M's are willing to part ways with OF Adam Jones (73/85) and RP George Sherrill (86/83), but the Orioles want in addition to those two either SP Brandon Morrow (75/81) or SS Carlos Triunfel (43/85). Currently, it appears the Mariners would prefer to include Triunfel between the two.
Jones, Sherrill, and Triunfel is an awfully high price to pay for any player. Erik Bedard was incredible last year (the only pitcher better than him last year according to my formula was Jake Peavy), but what he is actually worth needs to be examined further. Looking at his numbers, he exploded last year, and I doubt he will ever have a better year despite the fact he is only 28 years old. In fact, I really do not think he will reach the 94 rating my rating system projects for him next year. That is not to say Bedard will not be a great pitcher in the future, but to expect him to duplicate his 2007 output for the next several seasons is intrepid, to put it nicely. Taking Bedard's last three seasons and plugging them into my rating formula (with a slight injury adjustment), his rating drops to 86, with an expected decay to 85. That means Bedard is still a great pitcher, but the difference between a 96 rating and an 86 is significant.
After taking a closer look at Bedard, I think offering Jones and Sherrill for him is a fair deal. Baltimore needs a center fielder, and Jones fits that need perfectly, especially because he could become the black superstar that connects with the Baltimore community, which the Orioles covet badly. Though the Orioles would not receive a starter to replace Bedard in the trade, they added depth in the off-season by acquiring SP Troy Patton (61/78) and Matt Albers (59/63) in the Tejada trade, both of whom the team considers rotation candidates (I'm not as sold on them, but all that matters is if Baltimore believes in them). If they really wanted a starter, I would be willing to offer either Carlos Silva (75/74), Miguel Batista (76/72), or Jarrod Washburn (74/72), and get any one of those contracts off the books while making room in the rotation for Morrow. I doubt the Orioles would be interested in one of those three though.
As for the Mariners, Bedard would team with Felix Hernandez (83/90) and the mediocre, but effective, trio of Batista, Silva , and Washburn to turn the starting rotation into a decent, if not borderline formidable, group. Furthermore, though Sherrill would be missed in the bullpen, the M's have still have two very good bullpen lefties in Eric O'Flaherty (78/83) and Ryan Rowland-Smith (73/77), and Morrow would be pitching in the later innings as well. Adam Jones would also be missed, but Wladimir Balentien (70/80) is not a bad option, and there have been rumors the Mariners would sign Luis Gonzalez (79/74) if they were to trade Jones. So, it is not as if there would be a giant void in the outfield if Jones were to be traded, making it reasonable to say the upgrade Bedard brings to the starting rotation more than counteracts the loss of Jones in the outfield.
Still, it looks like the Orioles are not interested in only acquiring Jones and Sherrill for Bedard, and I would not be willing to offer much more for that. I would be willing to include INF Mike Morse (69/75) because there is no longer room for him on the 25-man roster thanks to INF Miguel Cairo (70/68), and Baltimore would be smart to take a look at Morse because he could fill their hole at shortstop, but I doubt that would be enough either. Bedard would be a great addition to the Mariners, but Baltimore's asking price is just a little too steep.