Erik Bedard is set to give it another go. Call to the Pen has reported that the once-promising lefty has signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bedard will head to spring training to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Bedard was once the prized left handed prospect of the Baltimore Orioles. He was a Top 100 prospect in baseball heading into the 2002 season. He made his major league debut that season, but it was cut short due to elbow soreness and the eventual dreaded Tommy John surgery. Bedard would miss all but six games of the following 2003 season rehabbing his arm.
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While Bedard has some fine seasons in the bigs, he never met the lofty expectations placed upon him. He had the best season of his career in 2007 for the Orioles, going 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA while posting a 1.09 WHIP and striking out 221 batters in 182 innings to finish fifth in the Cy Young voting. The following season he was shipped to Seattle for some names like Chris Tillman, George Sherrill and Adam Jones. The Orioles have gone on to become a playoff team with Tillman and Jones in place. Bedard would go 15-14 with a 3.31 ERA in three injury-riddled seasons with the Mariners.
The Dodgers mark the fifth team in five years that Bedard will pitch for after stops in Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston and most recently Tampa Bay. The 35-year old has regressed tremendously over that time as his once dominating strikeout per nine rate has lowered every season and his hits per nine has risen. Still, Bedard is a lefty with big league experience and as long as his arm is connected, that is invaluable at the big league level.
It will be tough for the long-time starter to crack the Dodgers starting rotation even with a strong spring training. Bedard will be looking to be bullpen depth and an occasional spot starter, but at the very least, he could provided organizational depth for this Dodgers team that is retooling. It is a low risk move for the Dodgers that, if Bedard could stay healthy in a limited bullpen role, could pay huge rewards.