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Pirates Release Erik Bedard

UPDATE: Michael Sanserino confirms Bedard's release.

Yesterday Charlie suggested the Pirates should remove Erik Bedard from the rotation. They may have gone one step further.

Late last night Dejan Kovacevic wrote:

This is NOT fully confirmed, but I just heard from a long-time, highly reliable source that the Pirates have released starter Erik Bedard.

I don't find this shocking because Bedard has been pretty bad of late, but I do find the timing strange. First, it's August 28 and the rosters expand in four days. If you can find room for Chad Qualls and his sore big toe, I imagine you can find a way to keep Erik Bedard around for 96 hours. Second, Clint Hurdle is constantly giving lip service to veteran leadership. Bedard clearly isn't an outspoken, rah-rah type of guy, but I would think there is some level of camaraderie amongst the pitchers and they would generally prefer to have him around. Or maybe not. Bedard failed to go five innings in 14 or his 24 starts and while he produced a WAR of 1.4 (fangraphs) most of that came in the first half. Add in the fact that Bedard hasn't pitched out of the bullpen since 2004 and maybe there is no point in having him around.

Many argued there was no need for the Pirates to hit the panic button. There generally isn't, until, of course, it's too late and you need to not only hit it, but smash it to smithereens. I think Neal Huntington did the right thing at the trade deadline. He looked to improve the team without mortgaging the future. I've argued this team just isn't that good and no one or two players were going to guarantee a playoff run. The Reds and Cardinals are much better teams and, unfortunately, that talent is coming to the fore. The Pirates aren't as bad as they appeared at the end of May and they aren't as good as the Lumber Company impersonation they did all of June and July.

In hindsight, it's easy to see they have been too slow to change the starting rotation and upgrade a weak bench. Last night they sent Rod Barajas, Gaby Sanchez and Michael McKenry to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. 1-2-3 and the Bucs dropped their sixth game in seven since the 19-inning win in St. Louis. Last year they dropped ten of eleven following the 19-inning loss in Atlanta. Coincidence?

The season is salvageable. A playoff berth, while a long shot, isn't out of the question. Two more losses at home against the Cards and you can put a knife in them, but there is still some hope. Removing Erik Bedard from the rotation is a desperate, but positive step, but replacing him with Kevin Correia would just be more of the same. While I haven't been a huge fan of Jeff Locke, he has been very impressive the last two months in AAA, and either he or Chris Leroux would be a better option for Bedard's spot in the rotation. Out with the old, in with the new, or more of the same? We'll soon find out.