Erik Bedard started the 2012 season off pitching well to the tune of a 3.12 ERA in his first 10 starts. However the success did not last for the southpaw as he finished his abbreviated season with a 5.01 ERA before he was released by the Pirates in August. This helps to explain why Bedard was so readily available to be signed by the Astros to a minor league contract three weeks before Spring Training.
Eric Bedard (Vincent Pugliese-USA TODAY Sports)
Other than his first full season in 2004 when he had a 4.59 ERA, 2012 was the only season where Bedard had an ERA above 4.00. That makes it easy to write off his brutal June, July, and August but I am not sure it’s that simple. Bedard is now 34 years old and has had his share of injury problems in the past so it is very likely that they have caught up to him causing the struggles last season.
From the start it looks like Bedard will be in line for at least a bullpen job but more likely than not a spot in the rotation – if he can show in Spring Training that he deserves it. While his numbers have been good the last few seasons, the sample sizes have been small. Other than the 129 and 125 innings he pitched in the last two seasons, the last time Bedard pitched more than 100 innings was 2007 when he logged 182 innings. This has helped to keep his strikeout and win totals down, but he is still capable of striking out close to a batter an inning (8.70 and 8.45 the last two seasons).
There is not much in Bedard’s performance last year to suggest that the first two months were good luck and the last three months were bad luck. It seems that at this point Bedard is just an average pitcher that will have some good starts mixed in with the bad. But he is still a veteran, left handed starter with a track record. There is no risk involved here and you can never have too many arms. If healthy, Bedard could be an innings eater for the Astros and it is possible he could surprise you with his performance. He is not as good as the 3.12 ERA to start the season or as bad as the ERA’s of 6.58, 6.49, and 5.91 in the last three months of his season. This is a good, risk free signing with some upside.