It was quite a surprise when the Pirates signed Erik Bedard before the Winter Meetings last December. Bedard was a “name player” that had some pedigree to him, but his recent seasons had been injury-plagued. That was the majority of the reason that the Pirates were able to swoop in and get him early for a 1 year/$4.5M deal.
In a radio spot shortly after his signing, I joked with the host to put me down for July 15th in the “Erik Bedard DL Trip Pool”. I had written and said that I hoped the Pirates could get 24 starts and 120 innings out of Bedard in 2012. Bedard’s next start will be his 23rd and he has pitched 116.1 innings so far for the Pirates this year. His triple slash line is 4.56 ERA/3.92 FIP/4.02 xFIP (1.5 WAR) so you could say that his defense has let him down slightly. His secondary stats (BABIP, LOB%, GB%) are all relatively in line with his career stats, so we are seeing a typical latter-half of Bedard’s career type of season from him.
If you subscribe to the $5M/WAR value (and WAR in general) then Bedard has already supplied his contract value to the Pirates in 2012. He can maddening to watch at times, due to his placid demeanor. I always wonder if he’s looking for guidance from a fan sitting in section 304 when he looks skyward during a moment of trouble on the mound. But his strikeout ability (8.59 K/9) has lent a different shape to the rotation this year.
Aside from his disastrous outing against the Cubs, I would say that Bedard has been the 2nd best Pirate pitcher after the All-Star Break, which is what many thought he could be at the start of the season. It is vital for the Pirates’ success that Bedard maintain his 2nd half numbers and stay healthy. But in terms of his contract, Bedard has already paid for that to date in 2012.