I have no intention of writing up every single non-roster invite that the Dodgers hand out, but when it’s a fun name like Erik Bedard, who per Ken Gurnick has agreed to a minor league contract, it’s probably worth a quick look.
Bedard, 36 in March, was once one of the top starters in the American League, putting up a fantastic run between 2005-07 for the Orioles, culminating in a 2007 where he struck out 30.2% of the hitters he faced and had a 3.16 ERA / 3.19 FIP back when offense still existed. To put that whiff rate in perspective, Clayton Kershaw struck out 31.9% in 2014 as part of one of the best seasons ever, and he had the benefit of a sport that struck out 3.3% more than it did back in 2007. He was really, really good, is the point.
But Bedard isn’t known for that any longer. He’s mostly known for being part of one of the worst trades of the last 30 years, when the Mariners wanted Bedard so badly they they dealt Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio for Bedard in February of 2008. Bedard pitched only 293.1 innings for Seattle between 2008-11 due to various injuries, missing part of 2008, most of 2009 and all of 2010 due to left shoulder troubles. (He’d previously had Tommy John surgery in the minors in 2002.)
Since then, Bedard has bounced around. Seattle traded him to Boston as part of the Trayvon Robinson / Stephen Fife / Tim Federowicz deal in 2011 — full circle! — and then he was Pittsburgh’s Opening Day starter in 2012 on a one-year deal. He spent 2013 in Houston and 2014 in Tampa Bay, both times making team after arriving on minor league contracts, but he was released by the Rays in August.. He’s at least managed to avoid the DL since a 2011 knee injury, though he’s hardly to be considered durable.
Unsurprisingly, age hasn’t done much for his velocity …
… and since 2012, he’s had a 4.78 ERA / 4.27 FIP in 352.1 innings across 65 starts, mostly hurt by control issues.
So what’s he doing in Los Angeles? This falls squarely under the category of “every team hands out a ton of non-roster invites to guys like this,” because it’s difficult to see Bedard cracking the rotation, and while he’s never been a reliever, it’s not like he’s been particularly hard on lefties over his career. There’s worse things in the world than having a veteran depth guy who could be an interesting long man / emergency starter, and maybe that’s the upside here. Maybe he’s just around for spring training depth; after all, while Andrew Friedman did employ him in 2014, he also released him in 2014. (Twice, actually, because he was briefly cut free at the end of camp.) Depth isn’t a bad thing. This is depth. That’s probably it.