The Cubs have recalled Corey Patterson from Iowa, sending Ronny Cedeno down. It's a good, bad and ugly wrapped up in one single transaction.
When the Cubs first promoted Cedeno on April 21st, I commented...
Cedeno, still only 22, is not yet ready for the major leagues, and at this stage sitting on the major-league bench and getting infrequent playing time [Ö] is the last thing his development needs. The major-league bench may well be where in the long-term his future most probably lies, but, here and now, as long as thereís a still chance that Cedenoís bat may be good enough to ultimately justify something more than that, the Cubs have to give it that chance. If that means a woeful veteran instead, for once, so be it.
Thankfully, the Cubs soon signed Enrique Wilson on May 17th, and Cedeno was allowed to return to the minor leagues, where he unfortunately hit so well that the Cubs decided on June 28th to outright Wilson and give Cedeno another chance in the majors. Then I wrote...
Regarding Cedeno, my take on him is this: whatever happens, I want him playing everyday this year, working on his game, upon adding the walks and the power that in the long-term he needs if heís to not precariously rely too heavily on average as his sole source of offensive productivity. Obviously that is something that would assuredly happen at Iowa. But whether thatíll now happen in Chicago with Dusty around is much more debatable, and whether it should happen, whether Cedenoís capable of outperforming even Neifi right now by an extent large enough to justify the service time heíd accrue doing so, is another matter too. Iím sceptical on all counts, and as bad as Wilson was, he did have two things going for him: he wasnít just 22, and he had fully established his performance level, albeit at ìuselessî. Thereís a danger Cedeno could go the same way if the Cubs arenít careful, but letís hope the Cubs know what theyíre doing.
Apparently they didn't, or they disagreed on what they were doing, because Cedeno amassed a meagre 7 starts and 41 plate appearances in six weeks on the major league roster. And, for what it's worth, those six weeks, in conjunction with his stint in the majors earlier in the year, mean that Cedeno has more than fifty days of major league service time, and thus he'll not be eligible for Rookie of the Year honours next year. This is, officially, his rookie year, and the Cubs have had him waste it as Neifi's bat boy.
Cedeno now, finally, goes back to the minors. So that's the good aspect to this transaction. He'll doubtless be back up again if Garciaparra re-injures himself or when rosters expand in September, whichever comes first.
Well, the Corey Patterson bit of the transaction. I wrote about this just last Friday...
It's possible the Cubs for a while considered recalling Corey Patterson [to replace Hairston on the roster]. Such a move would be a mistake. The Cubs sent Patterson down in order that they could work on his game and get him to the stage where he could once again be a good major league hitter. While Corey has reportedly been working on the processes - being more selective, laying off the high fastball, going the other way and not pulling everything, and so on - the results as yet haven't been entirely forthcoming. His walk and strikeout rates have importantly both headed very much in the right directions (7 walks and 15 strikeouts in 86 plate appearances), but he's still not hitting the ball particularly well, as evidenced by his .234 batting average. Given that we've heard all this talk about Patterson working on his game before, in camp this spring for instance, waiting until Corey's supposed new processes are yielding exactly the kind of results that'd make even Corey sit up and take notice is the right way to go. It's only that way that the processes will stick and the confidence return.
Corey Patterson has had a good four days since, with a couple of multi-hit games (including a multi-homer game last night) boosting his line at Iowa to .297/.366/.505 with 8 walks and 19 strikeouts in 102 plate appearances. All the same, that's still more strikeouts than is preferable, reports from those at the games suggest that not much has changed as far as Corey's approach goes, and the fact that three or four days can have such a profound effect upon his numbers is proof that the sample size isn't particularly significant, nor the success or the confidence anything more than transitory at this stage. He should have stayed in the minors as long as was necessary for them to become a little more permanent.
It's the only word to describe the way this season has turned these last few games. And because things here have become so ugly, it wouldn't really have mattered had Corey stayed in the minor leagues, because, contrary to Dusty's assertion over the weekend, we don't need him in Chicago at all. Murton, Burnitz and Lawton from left to right is acceptable in every aspect save outfield arm, and even if it wasn't satisfactory, with the Cubs not making the playoffs, what difference would that make anyway? What freaking difference will Corey make? The biggest one as far I can see is that Matt Murton will find his backside glued to the bench once again. Murton isn't a great prospect, for he lacks the customary power of corner outfielders, but he's a decent one, and he deserves a shot this year to prove he should be here next year and beyond. In limited time so far he's been passing with flying colours. As a reward, he'll now sit and watch, seen and not heard, unloved.