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Insider

Bedard fills Red Sox rotation need

7/31/2011

The Boston Red Sox have acquired left-handed starter Erik Bedard and reliever Josh Fields in a three-way deal involving the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox traded catcher Tim Federowicz and right-handed pitchers Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife to the Dodgers, who completed the deal by trading center fielder Trayvon Robinson and Chih-Hsien Chiang to the Red Sox. Boston then sent Robinson and Chiang to the Mariners.

By acquiring the left-handed Bedard, the Red Sox get the pitcher they wanted for the back end of the rotation without giving up much. Bedard, 32, was 4-7 with an ERA of 3.45 and a WHIP of 1.172 in 16 games started with 87 strikeouts and 77 hits in 91⅓ innings pitched. In his 16 starts for the Mariners this year, only three times did he give up more than three earned runs in a start. Bedard will pitch at 88-92 mph with a solid curveball and effective changeup. He is a health risk, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of pitching at Fenway Park. He certainly gives the Red Sox much-needed rotation depth, and for what they gave up (very little), Bedard is worth the gamble.

The Mariners get a solid center-field prospect in Robinson, who has the ability to steal bases and is a plus defender. Robinson has surprising power and is a quality line-drive hitter. He is prone to strikeouts, but has tremendous makeup. Chiang, 23, was hitting .338/.399 with 36 doubles, 18 home runs and 76 RBIs at Double-A Portland of the Eastern League. His swing is a little long but he makes sweet-spot contact when he gets a pitch he can handle.

The Red Sox also get Fields, 25, who was the Mariners' first-round selection in the 2008 draft and was the closer at the University of Georgia. I saw him as a free agent, and he had a great arm but never had good mechanics. He could never repeat his delivery and was the type of pitcher that radar-gun scouts loved but pitchability evaluators hated. If he can develop command and control, Fields could someday pitch out of the Red Sox's bullpen.

The Dodgers acquire Federowicz, a good defensive catcher who can catch, throw and frame pitches well. His bat doesn’t have the potential to make him any more than a future major league backup. Fife, 24, was 11-4 with a 3.66 ERA with a WHIP of 1.394 at Portland. He has a 92-94 mph fastball and flashes an occasional average curveball. Rodriguez, 22, was 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA with an impressive 88 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched at Class-A Greenville of the South Atlantic League. He has a good arm to go with an impressive pitcher’s body, but he needs to work on his secondary pitches. He improves the Dodgers' minor league inventory of bullpen arms.

GRADES

Red Sox: B-

Dodgers: B-

Mariners: C+