Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Erik Bedard, 2002 Upper Deck 40 Man #1034

When news broke today that Erik Bedard signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Pirates, my first thought was, "that poor bastard". After all, Pittsburgh is baseball's Siberia, a remote, desolate land where nothing grows. The Bucs have famously been the only team to out-bumble the Orioles for the past two decades, running up a string of 19 consecutive losing seasons. But on closer inspection, Pittsburgh is actually a more favorable destination for a ballplayer than Baltimore. Consider:

-After flirting with .500 into midsummer in 2011, a late swoon still left the Pirates with a 72-90 record, 3 games better than the O's. With breakout seasons from young players like Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata, the team could climb a little higher this year.

-The National League is widely acknowledged as being more favorable to pitchers than the American League, due in no small part to the absence of the designated hitter. Bedard had a career ERA of 3.70 in the A.L., and could certainly improve on that mark in the senior circuit.

-There are no Yankees or Red Sox in the Pirates' N.L. Central. 2011 division champ Milwaukee has reportedly given up on retaining free agent slugger Prince Fielder, and also may be reduced to resigning the awful Yuniesky Betancourt for their vacant shortstop position. The defending World Series winners in St. Louis seem likely to retain Albert Pujols, but they only barely scraped into the playoffs with 90 wins and a significant collapse by the wild-card frontrunners from Atlanta. The Cubs are rebuilding, the Reds are inconsistent, and the Astros are hot garbage. There are plenty of wins to be had in the division.

-For someone with Bedard's introverted personality, Pittsburgh is probably a good place to stay out of the headlines.

-Lastly, there's no reason to cry for a guy who averaged less than 100 innings over the past three years when he's getting four and a half million clams guaranteed. I don't think he'll be looking deeply into the bathroom mirror tonight, wondering what has become of his hopes and dreams.