Corey Patterson Rumors

Odds and Ends: Patterson, Lowry, Alvarez

Today’s linkage…


Reds Designate Hatteberg

1:42pm: It’s done – the Reds have designated Hatteberg for assignment to make room for Bruce.

9:30am: The Reds haven’t announced the corresponding move to Jay Bruce‘s callup yet.  John Fay wonders whether they’ll opt to designate Scott Hatteberg for assignment, noting his well-diminished role on the team.  I speculated back in April that Hatteberg might be a good replacement for Carlos Delgado or complement to Richie Sexson.

Corey Patterson has to be worried as well, since Bruce is expected to take over as the regular center fielder.  Patterson is hitting just .201/.242/.354 in 155 plate appearances.


Jay Bruce To Debut Tomorrow

According to Baseball Digest Daily, the Reds will promote top prospect Jay Bruce tomorrow.  The 21 year-old is mashing to the tune of .364/.393/.630 in Triple A.  Said Rob Neyer today: "Has there ever been a more obvious call-up in the history of the sport?"

Bruce’s promotion may signal the end of Corey Patterson in Cincinnati. 



Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Bruce, Longoria

Yesterday Rob Neyer of ESPN.com wrote about the fates of Baseball America’s top two prospects, Jay Bruce and Evan Longoria. While Bruce start the season in the minors, Neyer notes that the Reds could be a playoff contender if Bruce and Joey Votto receive 1,000 plate appearances. On the other hand, a decision has yet be made on where Longoria will start the season. Neyer feels that the Rays may wish that Longoria was not playing so well in Spring Training. He thinks the Rays should forgo the potential savings of keeping him in the minors and buy some goodwill with the fans by showing them that the team is serious about winning.

Keeping top prospects in the minors to begin the season is likely to become a growing trend. Decisions in both of the above cases may at least in part be based on future arbitration and free agency eligibility. A team can delay free agency by just postponing a player’s debut a few weeks. And as arbitration figures continue to rise, team’s can delay the start of the arbitration clock by waiting until June to promote a prospect. Last season the Brewers accomplished this with their top prospect Ryan Braun by waiting until May 24th to promote him to the majors. In doing so, Braun will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2010 season.

Let’s take a look at what is being written about Bruce and Longoria in the Blogosphere…

  • Redleg Nation understands starting Bruce in AAA, but laments the idea of having Corey Patterson batting leadoff. They worry that this confirms the belief that Dusty Baker prefers veterans even if they are less talented.
  • Red Reporter is split on the issue of Bruce noting that the issue is not as clear as we would like it to be. They also wonder if the Reds are staggering the debuts of their prospects so their arbitration and free agency clocks are also staggered.
  • Bugs & Cranks wonders if the Reds had already decided Bruce’s fate even before bringing Patterson on board, for the sole purpose of delaying Bruce’s arbitration clock.
  • At Fanhouse, Pat Lackey tries to justify the demotion of Bruce, noting that he may be better off developing under the tutelage of somebody other than Baker, getting more experience and delaying his arbitration clock.
  • On the other hand, Eamonn Brennan of Fanhouse thinks any team not managed by Baker would have kept Bruce on the roster.
  • Rays of Light notes that Longoria’s future teammates may not be happy if he is demoted. Rays of Light wouldn’t be happy with a demotion but they understand the reasoning.
  • Outs Per Swing notes that if Longoria is demoted, Willy Aybar will start at third. They do not believe that Aybar’s recent hamstring issues will have an effect on the team’s decision regarding Longoria.
  • Sports Indeed notes that Longoria is receiving a lot of playing time in the spring and wonders if this is an indication that he will be on the opening day roster.
  • Rays Index predicts a May 26 debut for Longoria based on his arbitration clock.

Cork Gaines writes for Rays Index and can be reached here.


Reds Sign Corey Patterson

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have signed 28 year-old center fielder Corey Patterson to a minor league deal.  Patterson, a Boras client, makes for a surprising bargain with a dash of upside.  He happened to reach free agency in an offseason with a center field surplus.  He’s reunited with former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who some say mishandled Patterson at times.  Fay believes this takes Kenny Lofton off the table for Cincy.

The Reds are calling it a center field competition, but Patterson will probably get the gig.  This will allow the Reds to keep Jay Bruce in the minors until June and delay his future free agency by a year.

The Reds also inked another former Cub, Jerry Hairston Jr.  He may have a hard time making the team, but his versatility could help.


Stark’s Latest: Patterson, Lohse, Lofton, Clemens

Finally, new info regarding some of the remaining free agentsJayson Stark has the scoop.

  • Seems there’s a chance Corey Patterson takes a cheap deal to return to Baltimore.  He could be relegated to fourth outfielder duty in that case.  Stark says the Marlins have discussed Patterson internally, but aren’t sure if they could afford the Boras client.  Patterson would be a nice stopgap for Cameron Maybin, who’d be well-served with some time in Triple A.  Ken Rosenthal also mentioned the Florida possibility.
  • One of the most surprising free agents at this point is Kyle Lohse.  Stark shoots down the notion of Lohse signing with the Met or Phillies on a one-year deal.  Rosenthal tossed out the Cards and O’s as slight possibilities.  It’s tough to be impressed with Boras’ work with Patterson and Lohse this year.  Stark’s colleague Buster Olney even speaks of rumors that Lohse could ditch Boras. 
  • Kenny Lofton wants a Major League deal, and the offers so far have been minor league (including one from the Reds).  I don’t find this an unreasonable demand on Lofton’s part; he’s still a useful player.  He’s OK with starting the season late and coming in as a mercenary when a spot opens up.
  • Stark talked to a friend of Drayton McLane who believes the Astros’ owner could roll the dice on Roger Clemens at the right price.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Lohse, Furcal, Lofton

FOX’s Ken Rosenthal checks in with the latest buzz from Spring Training.

  • The Mets, Cardinals, and Orioles are listed as possibilities for Kyle Lohse.  However, the Mets may deem him unnecessary, reports are conflicting on the Cards’ interest, and the Orioles are wary of the price.
  • Rosenthal says Rafael Furcal‘s agent met with Ned Colletti a few days ago, but the Dodgers would likely want to see Furcal return to form before entertaining an extension.  Click here to see the other shortstops eligible for free agency after the ’08 season.  The Dodgers may have a viable replacement for Furcal in defensive whiz Chin-Lung Hu.
  • Rosenthal notes that the Yankees, in search of a right-handed outfielder, considered Shannon Stewart and Mike Cameron this winter.
  • Kenny Lofton‘s chances of a getting the big league deal he wants with the Reds or Twins look slim. 
  • The rumor going around for Corey Patterson is the Marlins, if the price is right.
  • Rosenthal confirms two additions for our 2008 Out Of Options list - Gabe Gross and Clint Barmes.
  • Rosenthal says the Mets need a right-handed hitter who can play left field and first base.  Here are some names I came up with: Ryan Ludwick, Xavier Nady, Matt Murton, Franklin Gutierrez, and Kevin Millar.  Granted, not all those guys know their way around first base.


Dusty Talks To Lofton, Patterson

Cubs center fielders hit a fine .302/.344/.466 for Dusty Baker’s 2003 club, which came within five outs of a World Series appearance.  Most of the ABs at the position went to Corey Patterson and Kenny Lofton that year.

Dusty’s managing the Reds now, and both center fielders remain free agents as of February 17th.  The Reds have some uncertainty in center field, though Jay Bruce is a stud and Ryan Freel is said to be 100%.  According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker has spoken to both Lofton and Patterson recently.  They are options for the Reds; Baker says Lofton seeks a Major League deal. In that case someone would have to be booted off the team’s 40 man roster.  Six days ago, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Reds’ interest in Lofton might depend on who they might trade for another starter (with Joe Blanton as the main target).

The Reds currently have Kent Mercker and Paul Bako in camp as non-roster invitees; both played for Baker in ’03.


Dusty Talks To Lofton, Patterson

Cubs center fielders hit a fine .302/.344/.466 for Dusty Baker’s 2003 club, which came within five outs of a World Series appearance.  Most of the ABs at the position went to Corey Patterson and Kenny Lofton that year.

Dusty’s managing the Reds now, and both center fielders remain free agents as of February 17th.  The Reds have some uncertainty in center field, though Jay Bruce is a stud and Ryan Freel is said to be 100%.  According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker has spoken to both Lofton and Patterson recently.  They are options for the Reds; Baker says Lofton seeks a Major League deal. In that case someone would have to be booted off the team’s 40 man roster.  Six days ago, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Reds’ interest in Lofton might depend on who they might trade for another starter (with Joe Blanton as the main target).

The Reds currently have Kent Mercker and Paul Bako in camp as non-roster invitees; both played for Baker in ’03.


Johan Santana Rumors

UPDATE, 1-25-08 at 9:46pm: According to LEN3: I was told today that next week is a big week in terms of determining if and where Santana will be dealt.  The end is in sight, then?

FROM 1-25-08 at 9:30am:

Time for your daily Johan Santana rumors post.

  • LEN3 talked to a Twins official who said there had been no recent extension talks between Santana and the Twins.  Meanwhile Sid Hartman at the same paper says the Mets and Yankees won’t go seven years, and he think the Twins’ 4/80 offer is fair.
  • Neal says that while Santana won’t necessarily veto any trade reached after Spring Training starts, it’s in everyone’s best interest to avoid dragging it that far. 
  • The Mets are still reluctant to part with Fernando Martinez, seemingly the dealbreaker right now.  Aaron Heilman could enter the mix though.
  • Neal believes the Yankee/Red Sox offers from December are still on the table.  This has been my hunch as well.  Which is why I think Boston can still pull this off.
  • If no deal can be reached soon the Twins might have to sign a stopgap CF like Corey Patterson or Kenny Lofton.
  • Buster Olney on Johan’s warning signs: I talked with evaluators and scouts with three other teams since then, and they all saw the exact same thing in Santana: diminishment in velocity, relatively few sliders thrown, subpar (for Santana) performances. But two of the three believe the regression could be attributed to the Twins not being in the race, Minnesota not playing in a high-adrenalin situation, and Santana coping with a cracked nail. The third evaluator wonders, too, if Santana is OK. "If a deal is made, you could see there would be a complete physical, given the money involved," said the evaluator.