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You're All Going Down!
by Derek Smart
Here's a relevant quote from the end of my post yesterday:
Here's to a solid first game victory, followed by a surprise mashing of the Braves' finest, and all in spite of a full day of rest for Mr. Lee. I know it's not Christmas, but I'll take my present early, thanks.
Looks like my present was a lump of coal. Of course, it's nothing compared to what one Mr. Corey Patterson got in his stocking:
With their season slipping away and no signs of life in the clubhouse, the Cubs began a shakeup Thursday with the demotions of Corey Patterson and Jason Dubois to Triple-A Iowa.
Dubois needs at bats, hasn't been getting them, and has looked bad of late when he has, due in large part to the league quickly figuring out that anything that's not a fastball on the inner half is nearly impossible for poor Jason to hit. So that's a simple enough move to make, and one that deserves little comment beyond a nod of the head.
The big news, of course, is the demotion of Patterson, the man who was, for such a long time, the jewel of the system, but who, beyond intermittent flashes of talent, has been a huge disappointment during his time in Chicago.
The tone of comments from the front office implies that the club is doing this to help Corey work some things out. Here's Hendry from the Sun-Times piece on the subject:
"We still think the Corey that we are going to get is still in there," Hendry said. "Right now, he's not that Corey. He is probably trying too hard. You can see in his face he's trying too hard, and it's hard to fix it in the middle of a game in the big leagues."
"When you do that in this game, sometimes it goes the other way on you. We have a good, honest relationship with him and have known him a long time. For his own good and our good long-term it seems like the right thing to do. It'll be good for him."
Do I think the Cubs really want to get Corey turned around? Of course, if for no other reason to get his trade value up to a reasonable level. It's indicative of how far his value has fallen that a player with his physical tools was able to pass through waivers, as he had to in order to be sent down.
Granted, interested teams may have had roster size issues, but it seems to me that if Patterson was actually wanted by anyone, that simply having to pay his remaining salary for the year (approximately $1.4M) would be more attractive than giving up talent. That it apparently wasn't speaks volumes.
Add in the fact that, even with his recent injury, Felix Pie's performance this season and last has begun to dramatically shorten the Cubs' decision period regarding the future of center field, and I think that Patterson's trip to Iowa is likely to be his final stop in this organization.
I don't know where he'll go, or what the team will get for him, but unless something extraordinary happens during his time in the minors, all signs that I see point to the club punting on the career of Corey Patterson.
It's a shame, and I wish it hadn't come to this, because Corey seems nice enough and he does have a lot of talent, but whether it was his own stubbornness, the organization's inability to clearly assess and teach to his needs, or some combination of the two, it's been clear for a while that the pair don't belong together.
Divorce is never pretty, but sometimes it's necessary, and I think this separation will teach both sides that they're better off apart. Maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder, but in this case, I'll believe it when I see it.
As for the games themselves, I was only able to see some of the second contest, and there's only one item I have the energy to remark on at the moment, and even in that I was beaten to the punch by reader, Todd S. His comment attached to yesterday's post:
How can you miss THERE with an 0-2 pitch?!
He's referring, of course, to the spectacularly bad ball that Roberto Novoa threw to Andruw Jones in the eighth, with mashtastically unfortunate results.
The pitch can be questioned on multiple levels, the first being the obvious bad execution. Michael Barrett had set up high and inside, actually getting partially out of his crouch to receive the ball. What was thrown was over the middle of the plate and just above the knees, a fantastic spot to drive the ball. That's missing by a huge margin, and that's all on Novoa.
However, one can also question calling a fastball at all. Jones had looked bad on breaking balls all series, and it's been a good way to get him out his entire career. To not have Novoa, who has a nice slider when it's working, at least attempt to drop one outside is tantamount to malpractice.
Yes, most of the blame goes to Novoa for being unable to get a fastball anywhere near its intended target, but Mr. Barrett's bad pitch call deserves some of your opprobrium as well.
So, it seems we embark on a new era today, sans Corey Patterson, and with the hope that Matt Murton and Adam Greenberg can bring some of their energy and skills with them from West Tenn. If nothing else, they come packing hope, which I'm sure will be a welcome addition to this club which seems more and more hopeless by the day.