Patterson Headed to Baltimore

The Chicago Cubs finally unloaded Corey Patterson, sending him to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor leaguers Carlos Perez and Nate Spears. Patterson did not have a real place to play in Chicago after the trade for centerfielder Juan Pierre and the signing of former Minnesota Twin Jacque Jones. His disapointing 2005 season, and a lack of sustained growth throughout his career for that matter, certainly had a great deal to do with this transaction.

His best year in the last three seasons came in 2003, when he was 6% above the league average offensively according to mOPS. In 2004 he was league average on the nose, and in 2005 he was 21% below the league average offensively, posting a line of .215/.254/.348. Combine that with the fact that is basically league average (or a tad better) defensively, and you have yourselves a waste of a roster spot. A change of scenery may help things for Patterson, so it is hard to make a great deal of judgement on this deal yet, especially when the cost was Carlos Perez, a lefty who has not done anything all that impressive in the minors so far, besides a decent season in single-A at age 22, and Nate Spears, who is an interesting young prospect at shortstop. I can see Spears developing into a useful middle infield type, but with Tejada and Roberts under contract now to secure SS and 2B, and the Orioles attempting to win now with them under contract means he had no real place in the organization.

Patterson's line over the past two years has been absolutely awful (.245/.293/.409 with 29.45 AB/HR) , so the Orioles should hope that a change of scenery will save him. The Orioles outfield right now consists of Corey Patterson and Luis Matos in center, Jay Gibbons in right and Jeff Conine in left. Luis Matos actually had a much better season than Patterson in 2005. Check out his player card in comparison to Patterson's above:

Regular batting line aside (which Matos obviously won in), he was 24.71 Net Runs Above Average better than Corey Patterson in 2005. Or, to put it in terms of an actual player, Matos was pretty close to being a 2005 version of Brian Roberts worth of improvement over new centerfielder Corey Patterson. If Corey tanks in Baltimore, the O's better make the right decision and defer back to Matos. This looks like a deal the Cubs will win in the long term, and they win in the short term simply by getting rid of out-machine Patterson.

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