M's at the All-Star Break: Reasons to Be Optimistic, and to Trade Erik Bedard

The All-Star break is a time to take stock of the first half-plus of the baseball season and prognosticate on the rest of it. Last week, Mike Seely offered five questions for the Mariners. And yesterday, Vernal Coleman looked at whether the team should trade talented, oft-injured pitcher Erik Bedard. Here's a look at some of the mid-season assessments of the M's situation:

The talented Mr. Bedard: If the M's don't trade him, they're likely to let him walk after the season. But because he hasn't been awesome this year, it looks like they'd get only one compensatory draft pick in that scenario. Bedard is currently ranked as a Type B free agent (top 40% at his position), and unlikely to climb into the A's (top 20% at his position). If he were an 'A,' the M's could be compensated with two draft picks (including one likely in the first round) if he signs elsewhere next year. Since he's a 'B,' they'll only get one draft pick, which won't be a first-rounder. It's all a little obscure and arcane--though these compensatory picks were key to Billy Beane's famous low-budget run with the Oakland A's in the late 90s and early-00s, as documented in Michael Lewis' Moneyball--but it's certainly another reason to think about dealing Bedard now. (For a full explanation of the process, check out this Wikipedia entry.)

The Mariners offense has been not-so-good. Lookout Landing uses some fancy numbers to show that, in the second half, it's likely to be a little better. They also say that despite the disparity between the team's record (46-42) and run totals (scored 348, given up 366), the M's haven't been lucky, partly because they've had the third-hardest schedule in the league so far (as measured by opponents' winning percentage). All in all, it sounds like the 2nd half may have good things in store.

Finally, Felix Hernandez is super fired up about being an All-Star.

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