According to Canadian chroniquer sportif Marc Brassard (via MLB Trade Rumors), former Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox starterĀ Erik Bedard has signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates that will pay the left handed free agent $4.5 million in 2012.

A pitcher making 24 starts and throwing 129 innings isn’t normally all that noteworthy, but for Erik Bedard, it’s the most mound action he’s seen in three seasons. Even more encouraging than the amount of work he put in this season was evidence that the stuff that caused grown men to weep back in his prospect days was still alive and well, after multiple shoulder surgeries.

With Paul Maholm hitting the free agent road and a hip injury to Charlie Morton, $4.5 million is a very decent price to pay for rotation depth with upside. Bedard will always carry with him the risk of missing time due to injury, but considering the Pirates alternatives, it’s a smart and inexpensive gamble.

Also, if the schedule shines for him, Bedard could have multiple starts against the Houston Triple As during the team’s last season in the NL Central. Do I detect a pre-season NL Cy Young candidate?