Our Long National Nightmare Is Over
The Cubs have traded Corey Patterson to the Orioles for two minor leaguers. ESPN Radio reports that the players are shortstop Nate Spears and lefthanded pitcher Carlos Perez. We'll gather as much info on these guys as we can find and post it here. * Spears is 21 years old. He was a 5th round pick in the 2003 draft. At High A Frederick last year he hit 294/349/429. From the Orioles Hangout prospect list, where Spears is ranked #14:
20-year old who hits .294 with 42 extra base hits in the Carolina League is something, but what is the real question. Only average defensively and not a speedster on the bases. His 36-82 BB-K ratio is a bit of concern as well. A little guy who doesn't have a projectable frame. If he turns those doubles into homers at a higher level he may become a better prospect, but right now it's hard to project him as more than a lower Division second baseman. He's a baseball rat who continues to beat the odds, so don't bet against him.* Perez is 24 years old. He was signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican in 1999 and has started throughout his time in the minors, which means he has logged nearly 400 professional innings. Lat year at Delmarva (A) he went 11-8, 4.28. In 151 1/3 innings he struck out 146 (8.7 K/9) and walked 61 (3.6 BB/9). He's #36 at Orioles Hangout:
Started off the year like gangbusters. Went 4-4 with a decent 3.08 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 26 walks in 70 innings pitched through his first 13 starts. Lost his command a bit after that stretch and even worse, started to get hit like Mike Timlin in a save situation. Ended up with career highs in just about every category but allowed Sally League batters to hit .280 off him. With less then overwhelming stuff, and at 23-years old, Perez will need to prove more next year at Frederick.At this point I would have been happy with a bag of used baseballs and a cheeseburger (As long as it was from In N' Out) in exchange for Patterson. Yes, he had five tools, but he misplaced his toolbox in 2003 and even a trip to Iowa last year couldn't help him find it. David Appleman at Hardball Times put into graphic terms what we all knew, which was that Patterson had a really bad year last year. Can he bounce back? Maybe. But it's not like he's a green youngster who is still learning how to play baseball. He's 26 years old, an age at which most players have figured out what works for them and what doesn't. Even more damning is the fact that he has over 2,300 major league plate appearances. That's nearly four full seasons, and it's more than (for example) Mark Bellhorn, Luis Rivas or Robert Fick. Again, he's not someone who has spent only a little bit of time in the majors and it still feeling his way. He's a guy who came up, got established, had some success, and has now settled into a specific style of play that leads to occasional power, guesswork swings, and very low on-base percentage. I didn't want the Cubs to even tender Patterson, so the fact that they're going to not only avoid paying him the millions of dollars he'd get in arbitration (or a new contract), but also get someone (anyone) in exchange for him, makes me happy. Vaya con Dios, Coreylito. May you rediscover the joy of occasionally taking a pitch. If you end up turning things around in Baltimore, I'll be in the front row cheering for you, but I haven't bought any tickets to Camden Yards yet. PS - Bonus points to whoever remembers the last time I used this headline (no peeking in the archives).