The Baltimore Orioles are close to a deal that would send ace pitcher Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners, according to a report Sunday on the Seattle Times' web site.
The report said that promising young Seattle outfielder Adam Jones, who was slated to take over the starting job in right field for the upcoming season, had left his Venezuelan Winter League team and was flying to Baltimore to take a physical.
According to the report, Jones told a paper in Venezuela, that Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi "called me yesterday and told me the news. I've got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there. I'm the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners side. It's an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is. He's one of the best. Last year he finished up as arguably one of the top candidates for the Cy Young. He's that good, so for me it's an honor. You know, I like Seattle, but if I am in Baltimore, as I think now I am, I'm going to embrace it and have the best time of my life in Major League Baseball."
The report did not say who else would be included in the trade, but Mariners reliever George Sherrill, who has previously been mentioned as possibly heading to Baltimore in a Bedard deal, told the Times that he had not been informed of any trade.
"I hope if I am part of it that somebody tells me before Wednesday because that's when we're supposed to head down to Phoenix,'' Sherrill told the Times. "I spoke to John (McLaren) recently and I let him know that I want to be a Mariner for life. It's the team that plucked me out of the independent league and so I'll always have a spot in my heart for it and want to stay with the organization. But I know that rarely happens anymore."
Bedard was 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA last season. The left-hander is not yet eligible for free agency, but the Orioles are looking to stockpile young talent. Jones has played 73 games for the Mariners over the last two seasons. A former shortstop converted to the outfield, Jones has hit .230 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in the majors.