Bucs’ signing of Bedard good, McLouth so-so

   December 10, 2011 8:34 pm    Comments Off

 

Before Albert Pujols grabbed all the headlines, the Pittsburgh Pirates made some noise of their own.

The Bucs tested the free-agent waters by signing starting pitcher Erik Bedard and outfielder Nate McLouth to one-year deals.

The McLouth deal seemed to be a positive one, with the Pirates getting a popular player back on the team. McLouth was traded by the organization in 2009 in a deal that was heavily criticized.

McLouth was happy, too, returning to Pittsburgh. “It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” he said.

Getting $1.75 million to be a fourth or fifth outfielder isn’t a bad deal, either, if your McLouth.

While McLouth adds depth, that’s some coin to be handing out to a reserve outfielder who hit .190 in 2010 and .228 in 2011.

Bedard, on the other hand, could work out nicely for the Bucs.

With Paul Maholm gone, the Pirates desperately needed a left-handed starter. They got one in Bedard, who will earn $4.5 million.

The signing, however, doesn’t come without risk.

First, you have to think that there must not have been much interest in Bedard since the Pirates signed him. And there could be a good reason why — injuries.

Yes, he has the stuff to be an ace, but Bedard also is a risk.

He had 129.1 innings pitched last season in stops between Seattle and Boston. Before that, he had 83 innings (2009) and 81 innings (2008). Bedard missed the entire 2010 season with an arm injury.

It’s only a one-year commitment, so the Pirates won’t lose a lot if Bedard doesn’t pan out. If he does, Pittsburgh has an ace it hasn’t had in a while.

So it wasn’t the Pujols-C.J. Wilson double-double that the L.A. Angels pulled off, but going 1-for-2 isn’t bad by Pirates’ standards.

– Rick Green

 

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