This one is pretty easy to figure out, now.
The Orioles have NO choice but to complete the deal with the Mariners for Erik Bedard.
Speculation from across the country (from “respected media members” at ESPN.com and FOX Sports) is that Peter Angelos stepped in late Sunday night and squashed the deal.
I don’t know if I believe that, honestly.
But…it doesn’t matter what I believe.
What matters now is that if the deal somehow DOESN’T happen, everyone in Baltimore – or at least the 2,813 people who still really, really care about the team – will say, loudly: “THERE GOES PETER AGAIN, GETTING INVOLVED WHEN HE SHOULDN’T AND NOT ALLOWING HIS BASEBALL PEOPLE TO DO THEIR JOB.”
Even if it’s not true - and I see no valid reason why Angelos WOULD nix the deal – everyone’s going to say it IS true.
By the way, I can see an “invalid” way Angelos would nix the deal. I can close my eyes and hear Peter now: “Andy, how did word of this trade leak out on Sunday?” MacPhail: ”Evidently, the kid Adam Jones in Venezuela got all giddy when he heard the news and started yapping to his teammates and the media about getting on a plane and heading to Baltimore.” Peter: ”TELL THAT JOHNSON KID TO STAY DOWN THERE IN VENEZUELA THEN. I WON’T HAVE A GUY UPSTAGING OUR PUBLIC RELATIONS EFFORTS AND SPOILING OUR ANNOUNCEMENT. WE RUN THE ORIOLES…HE DOESN’T.”
That would be a “not-so-valid” reason for Angelos getting involved. He got pissed off that the Jones kid talked out of turn. It’s little things like that that infuriate high-dollar business people. And it’s little things like that (sort of like having a piss-ant radio station announce that you’re changing the team’s road jerseys a couple of weeks before you were going to make it official) that lead to a change of course. “How dare you embarrass us…” (as if 1998-2007 isn’t embarrassment enough.)
Read this carefully: But, I still don’t believe Angelos interfered. Call me dumb, but I don’t.
Other than the above scenario in which Angelos got his orange feathers ruffled because Adam Jones ruined a press conference at the Warehouse, what real reason would Peter have for killing the deal? Bedard isn’t a rock star in Baltimore. He’s just another player on a non-descript team that won’t add or take away any more fans in 2008. With him, the O’s might win 65 games in ’08. Maybe. Without him, they might not win 55 games. So what? Last place is last place. Color me naive, but I don’t think Angelos has any real VALID reason to kill the deal.
One other thing: If the Mariners are smart, they press the O’s for an answer today, knowing that the heat will be on the Birds to make a deal and avoid any negative publicity that would accompany a “killed deal”. Maybe the people in the Mariners don’t follow the O’s front office woes that closely, but the franchise in Baltimore simply can’t afford for public perception to be that Angelos squashed the Bedard deal – for valid or not-valid reasons.
The Mariners (if they want to play hardball) should call the Orioles TODAY and say, “Adam Jones stays on the table until 5:00 pm today. If you don’t agree to the deal, he’s no longer part of the package and you can keep your pitcher.”
If Andy MacPhail is running the club, the deal is going to happen soon.
If Andy MacPhail ISN’T running the club, Erik Bedard will start the season in Baltimore.
Perception is reality.
If the deal doesn’t happen, the perception will be “Peter is up to his old tricks.”
And, the reality of that? No one will be surprised. Even if it’s not true.