Baseball Toaster Cub Town
All The News That's Fit To Interpret
2005-12-15 07:25
by Derek Smart

Today, we'll start with an exercise in what the newspapers call "reporting". Our first example comes from Paul Sullivan in this morning's Tribune.

After Pierre's introductory news conference Wednesday at Wrigley Field, general manager Jim Hendry disclosed he would offer Patterson arbitration next week and might give him the right-field job in 2006.

This was the first I read on the subject today, and after being forcibly restrained from harming myself, I went on to see how the other papers covered the story. This is Bruce Miles in the Daily Herald.

Starting in right field for your 2006 Chicago Cub[s] … Corey Patterson?

Probably not, but with the Cubs scrambling to sign or trade for a left-handed hitter to play right field, general manager Jim Hendry went on record Wednesday as not ruling out the beleaguered Patterson.

"Sure," Hendry said.

Now, where the first statement made Patterson seem like he was a viable option for the right-field job, Miles' phrasing paints the possibility as more of a contingency plan should other more desirable alternatives not pan out. Then there's what Mike Kiley gives us in the Sun-Times.

Asked if Corey Patterson could play right field, Hendry replied, "Sure." If he plans to make that statement next month at the Cubs' annual fan convention, he would be advised to hire several armed guards to ensure his protection.

In truth, Hendry also is involved in trade discussions about Patterson after acquiring center fielder Juan Pierre from the Florida Marlins. So he simply was acknowledging that Patterson remains on the roster, not predicting that he will get the job in right field.

So, not only does Kiley go the extra mile to let us know how this statement came to be made in the first place, but he let's us know that, as he sees it, the possibility is not only remote, it's downright laughable.

Three gentlemen, all at the same press conference, all hearing the same responses to the same questions, came up with these three very different ways of translating those statements to us - and yes, these are translations, interpretations, if you will. It's an important lesson in the value of context, and something to always keep in mind when reading your morning paper on any subject.

* * * * *

Of course, all the hubub above obscures the real news, which is that Hendry is now publicly stating his intention to offer Patterson arbitration - and, to my mind, it is the statement of intent that is really important here, not the possibility of it becoming reality, undesirable though that may be.

In other words, with the non-tender deadline looming, and the Cubs still trying to deal Corey, it became necessary to let potential trade partners know that there would be no discount to be had after the 20th - that if you do, indeed, want to bring this man to your club, you'll have to give something in return.

I don't believe for a second that the team is really considering running Patterson out there as a starter, or even having him on the club, until every last living option has been exhausted. Granted, that could still happen, but I think the possibility is remote. Hendry is trying to facilitate a deal, not keep Corey in the fold. At least, that's my interpretation.

2005-12-15 11:18:58
1.   cubbyrick
In my opinion, your opinion is accurate. I do hate the media. I will add that I would almost rather see Patterson than Jacque Jones. I heard Jayson Stark hint today that when the Cubs are talking to Baltimore, they may be talking about Jay Gibbons.
2005-12-15 12:57:38
2.   The Boar
I think you're right, Derek, in that Hendry is trying to drum up interest for a deal. But I think it's likely that he's also making plans for Korey to be around next year if no reasonable deal can be brokered. The Cubs have invested a lot into this kid, and it would be foolish to just non-tender him. If you can't trade him and let him start afresh, sign him to a low-base-high-incentives deal and let him try to regain his composure as a bench player or even as a regular in AAA.

I personally don't think that's the answer but I think it's a more reasonable solution than just dumping him.

2005-12-15 18:56:31
3.   rynox
Other than being expensive, what's wrong with keeping him in Iowa?
2005-12-15 19:44:39
4.   The Real Neal

Felix Pie will be in Iowa- though if he has to go to right field because of Pierre, then I guess Corey could play center.

I think it would be foolish to release Patterson. He's still young, he still plays above average defense and if you want to give any credence to the comprabales at:

, he still looks he's got some all-star seasons ahead of him. Does anyone think he'll really have less value than say, Macias, next year?

2005-12-16 07:03:35
5.   84 Cubs
This line of inquiry gets me thinking about right field. I read today at that many clubs are considerig Nomar for right field. Why not the Cubs? He's a better gamble than Corey, to say the least, and better than many other options around the leage.

Is the hang-up money? Have relations soured? Can you imagine what this line-up would be like with a healthy Nomar in right?

2005-12-16 07:19:04
6.   Derek Smart
I think the concerns with Nomar were his injury history and what I think is a legitimate question as to whether he could adequately play the position, which in the end, would only increase his possibility for injury (as he's learning how to play it he'd be more likely to make odd, sudden moves with his body to correct for mistakes, etc).

Of course, at this point the question is moot, since the team couldn't re-sign him until May 1st anyway.

2005-12-16 09:56:21
7.   84 Cubs
It is indeed moot now, but strange that the Cubs don't think Nomar can play right but the Indians do.
2005-12-16 10:58:50
8.   Uncle Charlie
I truly wish the mass histeria prone fans who are screaming for Patterson to be shipped out of town hadn't taken such a strangle hold on the general public's common sense. Think about what Patterson's been through the last couple of years and how that's affected his ability to play to his potential. He had an all star caliber year going in 2003 before his season-ending knee injury against the Cardinals. It was obvious that during 2004, he was dealing not only with a continuing rehab early in the season, but also with a manager who really didn't want the youngster playing everyday and who was moving him around too much in the lineup. Yes, he strikes out too much, and it would be nice if Corey would realize that he has the potential to get 20-30 bunt hits and 60 stolen bases every season, but that's not going to happen. He's a lefty who can hit for power, has great wheels and can throw runners out at the plate from any field. Put him in the 5-spot in the lineup, give Pierre a chance to teach him about working hard, and teach the kid ONE THING about hitting that he doesn't know now--how to lay off the high fastball. The Cubs still have something special in this kid (and most scouts for the past 5 years have seen it too), so don't give him away for nothing. In fact, don't give him away at all.

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