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When There's No Real News...

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... some people have to make it up.

The frothing-at-the-mouth-anti-Corey-Patterson crowd is all up in arms over this article in today's Tribune, which says:

Jim Hendry disclosed he would offer Patterson arbitration next week and might give him the right-field job in 2006.


But Patterson's potential, despite a .215 season and a demotion to Triple A, gives Hendry pause when considering a trade. A handful of teams, including Texas and Arizona, briefly showed interest in Patterson, but the Cubs would rather give him another chance than deal him for low-level prospects. As Exhibit A they can point to Derrek Lee, who hit .233 and .206 for Florida in 1998 and '99, when he was about Patterson's age, before blossoming in his late 20s.


While the Cubs are concentrating on finding a right fielder, questions remain on whether Matt Murton is ready to handle left field full time. Murton hit an impressive .321 in 140 at-bats after being called up in July with only 78 games of experience at Double A. But Baker played him primarily against left-handers in the early going, and his average slipped after being given the job in September. He wound up hitting .261 against right-handers.


Apart from the one factual thing in those three quotes -- that arbitration is being offered -- I find the rest of it pure speculation. First of all, the arbitration offer, though it does set a floor on Patterson's salary (the maximum cut is 20%), doesn't mean he'll be on the team. All it means is that he's not going to be non-tendered. Frankly, $2.24 million (which would be 80% of the $2.8 million he made in 2005) isn't that much in a market where middle relievers are being paid $3 and $4 million a year. I doubt that this amount of money would stop any team from acquiring him if they really wanted to.

The Derrek Lee comparison is intriguing, but every player is different, of course. Lee never had in his career refused to change his approach when he was failing, and he had less than 800 lifetime AB after that 1999 season, far fewer than the 2000-plus Patterson has now.

One thing this does, of course, is put Patterson's name "out there", perhaps for some teams that hadn't thought of acquiring him in the past. Creative deals can be made, and remember this: if they really can't deal him, and he continues to perform poorly, they can cut him in spring training and only owe him 30 or 45 days' pay, depending on when the release occurs.

Knee-jerk frothing. Very unseemly. P A T I E N C E .