According to the little birdies chirping to the Trib's Dejan Kovacevich and the Post Gazette's Mike Sanserino, the Erik Bedard era is over in Pittsburgh. (EDIT - The Pirates officially confirmed the reports later in the morning).
The Bucs signed the lefty in the off season for $4.5M, and the deal was considered a coup if he could stay healthy. He lived up to the hype with a quick start (3-5/3.12 ERA), but the last three months have been tough on the 33 year old as he put up ERAs of 6.58, 6.49 and 5.91 from June through August. So as it ended up, he never became the hoped-for upgrade over Paul Maholm.
He's now 7-14, with a 5.01 ERA and 1.472 WHIP; the 14 losses are tied for the lead the majors, with Tim Lincecum. The Pirates have been working with an off-and-on six man rotation since the Wandy Rodriguez deal (his 13 losses are the second most in the majors), and it was a resounding flop, helping neither the starting staff nor the bullpen, so this addresses that by removing the weakest link.
The only thing curious about the release is its timing; the Pirates' roster expands in another four days, so they could have kept him through September. Maybe after the whole Kevin Correia to-the-bullpen thing, the Bucs thought it was just less of a mess to entirely cut ties. It could also be that they want to promote someone from the minors and want to get him on the 25-man roster prior to 8/31 (to be eligible for the post season).
The Pirates can return KC to the rotation. At 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA, he's a modest upgrade. In that case, Chris Leroux or Justin Wilson are likely long man replacements for Correia from AAA.
They could also bring up LHP Jeff Locke from Indy (10-5/2.56 ERA) if they want to have two lefties work every five days. They haven't released any information yet and have a couple of ways to wiggle, though we'd expect some sort of announcement before too long.
Now maybe they'll get moving on that bench...