The Cubs have made plenty of noise this winter with the signings of both Kosuke Fukudome and Kerry Wood and it appears Jim Hendry may not be done yet.
Yesterday rumors begin to swirl around the web regarding the Brian Roberts to Cubs trade rumors. Some sources originally claimed a deal was imminent, while others claimed the Orioles asking price may be a bit too high for Jim Hendry's likings.
Whatever the case, talks are clearly taking place between the two clubs and Brian Roberts may very well start at second base for the Cubs come Opening Day.
Hendry clearly isn't satisfied with what his organization has to offer at second base, but perhaps the best option is right in front of him in Eric Patterson.
Now, I'm not saying Roberts isn't a sensible option. Last season he hit .290/.377/.432 and his VORP of 48.2 runs was good for third best among all major league second basemen. He stole 50 bags at an 88% clip and moving to the National League is something he would likely benefit from. He was clearly a top five second basemen last season and assuming he doesn't lose his line drive stroke, he should be quite good in 2008.
One could argue this is just what the Cubs need. The acquisition of Fukudome gives the Cubs arguably one of the strongest lineups in the National League; a trade for Roberts would really put the icing on the cake.
My question is: Should the Cubs trade top-tier talent for Roberts or is Patterson a better in-house solution?
We all know what Roberts can do, but what about Patterson?
I've written of Corey's younger brother in the past and while he's certainly not the "toolsiest" 24-year old, he does project quite well. Though it's a bit outdated, here is a look at his PECOTA five-year projection:
Patterson's 5-year valuation is quite strong and given the fact he hit .297/.359/.457 in his first full season at AAA, he should project as a pretty solid major leaguer in '08. A few questions have been raised about his ability to play second base, but even with below average defense he's quite a commodity: A young second basemen with strong on-base ability and decent pop making the major league minimum is something a number of GM's would kill for.
I'm interested to see what PECOTA has to say about Patterson for 2008. His 2007 season at AAA was good enough to the point where the Cubs felt comfortable giving him a mere 8 major league at-bats, but he's definitely a better option than Ryan Theriot and Mark DeRosa and I wish he would have seen some time at second for the Cubs last season.
As a stat-oriented fan, Eric Patterson is the type of player I like. However, I must admit that if the Cubs have the opportunity to strike a relatively fair deal with the Orioles to acquire Brian Roberts they should jump all over it.
In my opinion, Roberts would give the Cubs the most potent offense in the National League and he would surely give them the opportunity to make a run at the pennant in 2008.
If the Cubs however can't strike a deal for Roberts, there is no reason Cub fans should start throwing chairs. Assuming Hendry realizes what he has in Patterson the way he did with Geovany Soto, the Cubs have a pretty good in-house solution available for second base.