Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bedard to Seattle: Important Precedent

posted by Patrick

It's July 31st, 1989 and the Minnesota Twins are 51-53 after finishing 91-71 the year before, and are just two years removed from winning the World Series in '88. With a weak pitching staff that was in dire need of rebuilding, general manager Andy MacPhail traded away the Twins lone starting pitcher sensation; a 29-year old Cy Young Award winner by the name of Frank Viola. The trade involved sending Viola to the Mets for starting pitchers Rick Aguilera, David West, and Kevin Tapani as well as relief pitchers Jack Savage and Tim Drummond.

When asked about the trade, GM Andy MacPhail stated that "This is the kind of deal a general manager hates to make, you put your head out there because you know it's the right thing to do for the organization." Although the move didn't completely pan out for the Twins, MacPhail managed to keep his job for a couple more years despite lack of support for him among Twins fans.

If you've stuck with me so far, you have reached the paragraph where I make my point. Andy MacPhail is the Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Orioles but essentially serves as general manager (Mike Flanagan is officially the GM but MacPhail pulls the strings). So MacPhail is faced with the same type of situation that he was faced with in the summer of 1989. He's already demonstrated that he will trade a superstar pitcher to rebuild a franchise if it's in the best interest of the team, and I think the consensus is that trading Erik Bedard is the better choice for the Orioles in the long-term. By the way, remember when I said Viola was 29 when he was traded? Erik Bedard turns 29 in March...

More MacPhail Quotes about the Viola Trade:

"The reality is that baseball is cyclical. Sometimes you've got to play the cycle and turn in your chips for more chips."

"You knew at the time it was one of those trades that can be a career buster, when you get right down to it. It's one of those that you have to get right. But I had a lot of confidence in our evaluators, and I just knew in my heart and soul it was time."



Dustin Shires said...

Good post, but it's the Mariners who are the ones holding the trade up. We are playing too much poker. Now, not giving up Jones is the deal killer.

Patrick Whealton said...

Not necessarily. I'd remind you that information that comes out at this time of year isn't always correct. If one single person starts a rumor, it usually snowballs into a massive storm of false information. We don't know what team is holding up the deal.