When it comes to whether the Houston Astros should/will part ways with Erik Bedard, the question really is less about “why?” and more about “why not?”
After all, even at a 1.15 million salary on a one-year deal, the veteran is already the highest-paid member of the still-rebuilding Astros club, and after making good on a make-good deal, there’s little reason to believe that the 34-year-old impending free agent has any role in the team’s future plans — and vice versa.
Though the team’s deal to ship off Bud Norris might have captured the attention on the team on trade deadline day, it is worth mentioning that Bedard was scratched for his start then, indicating that the team may have had something in the works … or at least their intent to ship him off anyway.
So what’s to stop the team from pursuing a waiver deal in August?
Nothing has changed in that regard as far as intent, of course. In fact, you might even say that the Astros have more of a reason to move the lefty than ever. With a six-man rotation in tow and the youngest team in baseball, Bedard’s role on the team could be either seen as a solid veteran leader … or just someone who has no reason to be on the team, and who sticks out like a sore thumb.
That said, trying to move him may be easier said than done.
For one, Bedard is likely too valuable to clear waivers — with his salary and his performance (3.00/1.08 ERA/WHIP over 24 IP after the All-Star break), the specter of his disastrous start is long in the past, and there are definitely teams in contention who could use his services that will put a claim on him, significantly limiting the Astros’ dance partners in this scenario.
Still, given that Houston really has nothing to lose as a deal at this point — even if he does clear waivers, the return is likely to be no more than cash considerations or the good ol’ PTBNL anyway — that might not be as much of a hurdle as imagined. In short, any team that wants him is a suitable trade partner.
So which teams might be an interested?
The Astros might not have to look far. The Oakland Athletics could use a boost in the rotation with Bartolo Colon‘s struggles and the uncertainty over Brett Anderson‘s role, but another team would likely put a claim on Bedard to block the AL West contender from acquiring more help.
Would the Texas Rangers be another potential suitor? It’s certainly possible, as it would allowed them to potentially shift Alexi Ogando back in the bullpen given his own injury concerns. Regardless the team, though, it really does behoove the Astros to be active over the course of August to pursue a dump deal, as not moving Bedard now would mean letting him walk for nothing.
And even getting a bit of cash relief is better than that, yes?