Eric Patterson Rumors
We've completed the National League, so now it's time to jump over to the so-called junior circuit...
- Angels: They moved three pretty good young players to get Scott Kazmir last season, so they might prefer to hold onto the rest of their top prospects. Their best chip is someone you may not have heard of, out of options catcher Bobby Wilson. He's on the 25-man roster but has barely played as the third stringer, yet how many teams would love to have a 27-year old catcher with a very good defensive rep, a .290/.345/.425 batting line in 820 Triple-A plate appearances, and six years of team control left? Pretty much all of them. He'll never clear waivers if the Halos try to send him back to the minors.
- Athletics: Oakland has plenty of young pitching, but Billy Beane likes to hang on to those kind of guys, and for good reason. With ten infielders on the 40-man roster, someone like Jake Fox or Eric Patterson could be moved, as could outfielders Travis Buck or Gabe Gross since Michael Taylor is coming fast. Plus there's always Ben Sheets.
- Mariners: Jack Zduriencik surrendered a good amount of prospect depth this offseason by acquiring Cliff Lee, but no one will argue with that move. Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, will make Jose Lopez expendable in short order, and they could choose to make one of two minor league outfielders - Michael Saunders or Greg Halman - available. Seattle's best trade chip might be their potential ability to absorb some money.
- Rangers: Texas is absolutely loaded with young players, so they have plenty of pieces to offer. They can move Chris Davis because Justin Smoak is knocking on the door, or they could move Derek Holland because Martin Perez isn't too far away. They dangled Max Ramirez this winter, and outfielder David Murphy is about to get expensive through arbitration, so he could find himself on the block. Bottom line: the Rangers have the pieces to go out and get anything they need or want.
Action-packed links for Wednesday...
- NL offense rankings are up at RotoAuthority, courtesy of CHONE projections and the Baseball Musings lineup analysis tool. The Rockies are on top and the Padres bring up the rear, but plenty will change as the season unfolds.
- Two closers were named in recent days, and our Twitter account @CloserNews passed along the info instantly to allow you to make the winning fantasy pickups.
- The Rangers are attempting to work out a trade with the Giants that will allow them to retain Rule 5 lefty Ben Snyder, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Snyder already cleared waivers, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Sullivan also notes that Matt Treanor chose not to exercise his out clause; he's headed to Triple A.
- WEEI's Rob Bradford writes that although the Rangers are scouting Mike Lowell today and they're more interested in him than any other club, a deal is unlikely now and the Rangers would want the Red Sox to pay almost all of his salary. Bradford also notes that earlier this offseason, the Rangers expressed interest in Jed Lowrie.
- Free agent Kevin Millar hopes to continue his playing career, he explained on ESPN's Waddle & Silvy show.
- Diamondbacks second baseman Kelly Johnson strongly considered offers from the Blue Jays, Pirates, and Indians, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- The A's feel that out of options players Eric Patterson and Jake Fox would not clear waivers, so they're likely to send Landon Powell and Adam Rosales down (Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reporting).
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy offers analysis and predictions for seven out of options pitchers.
- The Orioles are looking for a suitor for catcher Chad Moeller, who is "shocked and disappointed" about not making the team according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltmore Sun. Peter Schmuck feels that Moeller was a better choice than Craig Tatum.
- Jeff Suppan explained to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that he's not dealing with a phantom neck injury, despite the convenient timing.
- Though they could've saved $750K, the Nationals chose not to cut Scott Olsen according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs knows the Mariners, and he analyzes the organization's health in this article.
Here's a look back at the biggest stories MLBTR covered for the week of July 6 - 13:
- The Brewers completed a deal for C.C. Sabathia, sending Matt LaPorta and other prospects to Cleveland in return. Sabathia's looked great so far, and LaPorta's already making an impact in the Indians minor league system. Looks good for both teams right now if you ask this guy.
- The Cubs answered their division rival quickly, landing Oakland ace Rich Harden along with Chad Gaudin in exchange for Matt Murton, Sean Gallagher, Eric Patterson, and Josh Donaldson. Harden was brilliant in his debut. I think this could be another win-win trade, if Harden stays healthy.
- It was once again made clear that no one has interest in Barry Bonds, even at this juncture of the season. Seems like we've heard this once or twice before...
- It was a long time coming: The Mariners released Richie Sexson. Could the Yankees be interested?
- With likely season-ending injuries to both Eric Byrnes and Moises Alou (possibly career-ending in Alou's case), both the D'Backs and Mets are in the market for corner outfielders. Raul Ibanez should be appealing to both clubs, though the Mariners may not be interested in trading him, Jim Riggleman says. Carlos Beltran voiced his support of acquiring Ibanez. I personally don't see why Seattle wouldn't pull the trigger, but I'm not a Major League GM, I suppose.
- Tim updated both the first base and catcher markets in the Trade Market Series.
- The Twins had internal discussions on Adrian Beltre. A third base upgrade would certainly be nice, but they're not known for making big moves at the deadline. Could Bill Smith change that reputation in his first year as GM?
I've got some odds and ends related to the Rich Harden and CC Sabathia trades.
- The Cub Reporter had an interesting post yesterday, stating that Harden can demand a trade after this season under the old CBA. The Cubs could always sidestep that by declining Harden's $7MM option and going through the arbitration process with him. I ran this by a source close to the situation, and he said the Cubs are not worried about Harden demanding a trade.
- Bruce Miles talks about the "great personal and working relationship" between GMs Jim Hendry and Billy Beane.
- Susan Slusser says Beane never inquired on the Cubs' top draft pick from 2007, third baseman Josh Vitters. She says the A's did not consider it appropriate to ask for a player they had no chance of getting.
- Slusser adds that "there is thought among other clubs that the A's might deal Matt Murton or Eric Patterson."
- Authors at the Hardball Times did a roundtable about both trades.
- Squawking Baseball praises Beane's boldness.
- The Royals spoke internally about Sabathia, but it never got to the point of a discussion with the Indians.
5:36pm: The AP story is out. The Cubs get Harden and Chad Gaudin for Gallagher, Murton, Patterson, and catching prospect Josh Donaldson. Jim Hendry did his best to counter the Brewers' acquisition of CC Sabathia, and Gaudin is more than a throw-in. The A's get three MLB-ready players plus a solid offense-oriented catching prospect. Gallagher would have to be considered the centerpiece for Oakland.
5:25pm: Dave Kaplan of WGN Radio in Chicago reports that the Cubs have acquired Rich Harden from the A's. Sean Gallagher is reportedly part of the deal, and possibly Matt Murton. Hal McCoy says Eric Patterson and another minor leaguer are also included. More when I have it.
Harden, 26, has been dominant in 13 starts for the A's this year. The injury-prone Harden is a tantalizing player; he's only topped 130 innings once but has a career ERA of 3.42. The latest concern: decreased velocity/dead arm in his last start.
Harden has a $7MM club option for '09, which is highly likely to be exercised.
Let's round up some Monday morning links.
- The Cardinals are taking another look at Sidney Ponson. Insert your own punchline in the comments.
- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun could see the O's making a minor trade for a veteran second baseman if they acquire Ronny Cedeno but not Eric Patterson in a Brian Roberts deal with the Cubs.
- Brandon Inge is trying his best to talk his way out of town. The Dodgers' recently reported nibble hasn't been publicly shot down, so that's a plus.
- South Side Sox thinks speedy infielder Eugenio Velez is the type of player the White Sox could desire for Joe Crede.
- Jonathan Papelbon wants $900K in his last year before arbitration eligibility. Ryan Howard set a scary precedent last year. If Papelbon doesn't get offered something close, he'd rather make a statement and be renewed near the minimum.
- Buster Olney suggests Dan Johnson and Doug Mientkiewicz could be possibilities for the Mets in their quest for a backup first baseman. Olney speculated on Nick Johnson, Scott Hatteberg, Richie Sexson, Tony Clark, and Kevin Millar the day before.
Time for a new series here at MLBTR called Blocked Prospects. We'll name some position players with Double A or better experience who seem to be buried on their current team's depth chart.
One such player is Cubs second baseman/center fielder Eric Patterson, who turns 25 in April. Patterson hit .297/.362/.455 in Triple A last year. Baseball America applauds his speed and surprising power, but isn't keen on his defense. Patterson is able to draw a walk, something his brother Corey never figured out. Patterson is behind Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot, Ronny Cedeno, Sam Fuld, and Felix Pie in the eyes of the Cubs; repeated tardiness last year didn't help.
With a .268/.332/.422 projection from Baseball Prospectus, Patterson's bat would be league average at second base or center field. He could make sense as Brian Roberts' replacement in Baltimore. He could be useful in Minnesota, where center field and second base are unsettled. Patterson could provide competition for Jose Lopez in Seattle. The Giants need any kind of position-playing talent, though their outfield is more than full. San Diego is somewhat feasible, especially since Kevin Towers and Jim Hendry often match up for deals. What kind of future do you see for Eric Patterson?
MONDAY: SI.com's Jon Heyman says a Roberts to Chicago trade still has a little life, and the Orioles are scouting Cubs' players. Meanwhile Jason Churchill wrote a few days ago that the O's may require Felix Pie or Tyler Colvin instead of the Cubs' apparent offer of Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, and Kevin Hart. Churchill says the O's are also high on Eric Patterson.
SUNDAY: Check out this piece by Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here's the one-liner that has caught some readers' attention:
Sources say that Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will be traded to the Cubs as soon as the Orioles decide which pitchers they want in return.
All sorts of Cubs pitchers have been rumored in these talks: Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher, Jason Marquis, Jose Ceda, Donald Veal. It's been said that the Cubs won't part with Ceda. My best guess is that this deal does get done before Opening Day.
It seems as though all the players we thought we would be traded this off-season, have been traded, minus one...Brian Roberts. The oft-rumored deal to send Roberts to the Cubs continues to linger. Ken Rosenthal first suggested that Roberts would be a good fit for the Cubs back in early December and Jeff Zrebiec confirmed the Cubs interest. Then the deal may have been dead, with the O's asking price too high and by the end of January Gordon Wittenmyer suggested Cubs had turned their focus to Marlon Byrd. Then according to Jon Heyman a deal appeared imminent. Rosenthal thought the O's insisting on the inclusion of Felix Pie was a deal-breaker. But then Baltimore acquired Adam Jones and Chris De Luca noted the deal might have life. But now Heyman wonders if the proposed package(s) is not enough and if Peter Angelos will nix a deal, as Roberts is one of his favorite players. Now that Spring Training has begun we have to wonder if a deal can still get done. let's take a look at how the Roberts deal is being handled in the blogosphere.
If there is a topic you would like to see covered in "Baseball Blogs Weigh In" please let me know HERE.
- View From the Bleachers sees Roberts as a nice addition but not a necessity as he may only be a slight upgrade from Eric Patterson. They don't see the deal as a "foregone conclusion" considering the players being offered by the Cubs.
- Camden Chat is not impressed with the Cubs offer, but they wonder if Roberts is worth keeping.
- Another Cubs Blog sees the signing of Alex Cintron by the Cubs as a sign that the Cubs are making progress towards getting a deal done.
- Ivy Chat wonders if the Cubs have enough in the system to obtain both Roberts and Joe Nathan. While they would like both, they would prefer Nathan.
- Crawley's Cub Kingdom notes that Alfonso Soriano's legs are not 100% and that he may not be suited to lead off in 2008, increasing the need for Roberts.
- A Hundred Next Years is not sure the upgrade from Mark DeRosa to Roberts is worth the price.
- Wrigleyville23 calls it "The Roberts Rain Delay" and notes that the political process here in the U.S. actually moves faster than trade discussions between the Cubs and the O's.
- Orioles Fan Base talked to our own Tim Dierkes about this situation.
ESPN 1000's Bruce Levine suggested yesterday that the Cubs were preparing an offer for Carl Crawford. However, team officials told Roger Mooney today that there's nothing brewing. Apparently the rumor was Rich Hill, Eric Patterson, and a prospect for Crawford. That doesn't seem sufficient anyway. There was even some talk of a three-way deal involving the Brewers and Yankees, which was from Gotham Baseball. According to Mooney, none of it is for real. You be the judge.