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The Heartwarming Erik Bedard

Erik Bedard
Earlier this week, the Mariners signed Erik Bedard to a non-guaranteed contract. Or, just as accurately, Erik Bedard signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Mariners. On paper, it does not look like a big deal, particularly from a financial standpoint.

However, it is a big deal.

First of all, the deal could pay huge dividends on the field. Bedard has always been productive when healthy, and by all accounts he will be ready to go in spring training. The Mariners could have just signed a pretty legitimate number two starter for just a tick above loose change. The rotation could look something like this:

  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Erik Bedard
  3. Jason Vargas
  4. Doug Fister
  5. Michael Pineda
I like that rotation. Bedard probably starts out lower in the rotation (maybe in the fourth slot), but it's still the same five guys. He is an upgrade over David Pauley, and will take pressure of Michael Pineda to be an impact starter immediately.

What's more remarkable about Bedard's contract is what it says about his relationship with the Mariners. It is easy to forget that he was with Seattle all of last year, given that he did not throw a single pitch. However, the organization has now invested two years in rehabilitating his arm, and this past year they could have let Bedard walk away in free agency. That's a significant commitment.

Now, Erik is returning the favor. This isn't a very glamourous contract. It's very team-friendly, since it is not guaranteed. It says something about Bedard's gratitude to the Mariners, as well as his loyalty.

Erik Bedard, a pitcher that became hated thanks to the lopsided trade he was the centerpiece of, his aloof "interactions" with the media, and annoyingly short outings, is now in a position to become befriended in Seattle. He has a chance to be a pleasant surprise on the roster, and do it in a way that shows uncommon loyalty in today's game.

Right now, you gotta love this guy.