Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

The Corey Patterson Trade

Posted by Mike on January 10, 2006

Yesterday, the Orioles acquired Corey Patterson for Nate Spears and Carlos Perez. Let’s look at this from a few angles.

What we gave up

  • Nate Spears, 20, 2B

Spears was selected in the 5th round of the 2003 draft. His first two years with the organization, Spears showed excellent plate discipline in the GCL and Sally League with a combined 87 BB’s to 95 K’s. Last year, he regressed a bit in the Carolina League– with 36 BB’s to 82 K’s. Not coincidentally, his power numbers spiked a bit and he posted 42 XBH’s in 445 AB’s. At a listed 155 lbs., it’s tough to see his power progressing much further. This has led many to speculate that Spears will end up as a utilityman (often a lazy way of saying he’s just an OK prospect), never hitting for enough authority to be a regular. Unfortunately, he is limited to 2B by his fringy arm, so he is pretty much a regular-or-bust type of prospect. His potential as a regular, then, will likely depend on his ability to get on base. To make that road even tougher, he is now in an organization that does not particularly value that skill. Grade C+ prospect.

  • Carlos Perez, 23, LHP

Perez is reputed to have some pretty decent stuff. He did register 146 K’s in 151.3 IP last year at Delmarva. Yet, his hit rates are consistently higher than one would expect from a 23 year old with good stuff still in low-A ball. This could be because of bad luck or because he has poor control within the strike zone. In this case, I’m inclined to believe the latter, especially considering his other control idicators (61 BB’s). So, when you hear other people calling Perez a LOOGY (Left-handed One Out GuY) type, they are likely being as lazy as those that claim Spears is a future utility player. The fact is, the guy is old for his league and has serious control issues. If they don’t get resolved, Perez won’t get out of A-ball. If they do, who knows? But how likely is that to happen? Grade C prospect.

What we got

  • Corey Patterson, 26, OF

Cubs fans are breathing a sigh of relief. No, they’re not pumped up about seeing how Carlos Perez handles Lansing’s opponents next year, they’re happy to have dumped Corey Patterson. And not just for the $2.5 million savings. Corey Patterson was among the worst hitters in the major leagues last year: making an out 75% of the time, slugging .348, and striking out almost once a game (No- that doesn’t make him a worse hitter, it just makes the negative perception more pronounced).

Patterson has all the tools. I don’t need to remind you of this, it has been well documented. He was, in fact, the first cover-boy of the Baseball America Almanac. He was rushed through the minors and after some early struggles, he had successful 2003 and 2004 seasons. On the surface, 2003 looks like his breakout year. However, it was in 2004 that he looked like he might finally be on the path to posting acceptable OBP’s, with 45 BB’s in 631 AB’s. Then, everything went downhill. His .215/.254/.348 line in 2005 is something only Cristian Guzman could be proud of.


I like this deal for the Orioles. It wasn’t bold because we didn’t give up anything- Spears is blocked by B-Rob, and Perez… eh. It isn’t likely to help the Orioles because few people can succeed at the highest level with no concept of a strike zone. But, there is always the small chance that Patterson can build off of what he started in 2004 and live up to his former billing as the King of Prospectdom- even getting halfway there would be a big improvement over Luis Matos. And for that, I applaud the move.

I’d also like to point out that Corey Patterson is still 26. If I may go all apples-to-oranges for a second, remember when Roy Halladay was 23? He completely lost any feel for the strike zone and it shattered his confidence. Corey Patterson was never forced to adequately confront his plate discipline problem because Jim Hendry seemingly never realized it existed. I’m going on record to say that the 2006 Orioles should take a page out of the 2001 Blue Jays’ book. Let’s bump Patterson down to Frederick and demand that he take some walks or else. Every 150 successful AB’s, bump him up a level. An entire year out of the spotlight, working out the kinks at levels he could dominate in his sleep could do wonders for Patterson, just like it did for Halladay. By 2007, I’d wager he’d be better equipped to handle a full-time major league gig than if we just give him some on-the-job training with our own swing at anything guru, Terry Crowley.


16 Responses to “The Corey Patterson Trade”

  1. Anonymous said

    I will first say that I am also a proponent of this trade, but an admitted Patterson fan moreso because I parked his car in Ocean City in 2001 where he proceeded to tell me he was going to blow up and then sign a shirt for me. However, I also think you are quite correct about his tools. My comment then is directed at your idea of having him take a year away from the bigs to do some work. Per my afore-mentioned comment about how he insisted he would “blow up”, I wonder if anything like that would ever happen. There would have to be ego issues there in addition to the O’s front office tendency to fall into the same patterns, i.e. this time banking on the whole,
    “change of scenery” as a spark. Didn’t we go digging in chi-town for another disgruntled windy city resident sometime recently? if i may quote windy city heat, what if we end up “licking the
    fridge’s ass” on this one?

  2. No Speakz said

    As a post script to the first comment, I did not mean to make myself anonymous b/c i wanted credit for the “windy city heat” reference. Also in addition, with virtually all question marks in the OF, doesnt it only make sense to have him up competing? Im sure youll agree that the spring will be extremely key for patterson and how things will shake out in the OF… that being said, if patterson looks good in Lauderdale, will the O’s dive headlong into the Patterson “change of scenery” bandwagon. I suspect so, and probably will be right on their heels.

  3. Mike said

    Well well well No Speakz, about time you made your voice heard. I had forgotten that Corey Patterson’s exploits date back to your bell-hopping days. For those of you wondering what else this guy is talking about, might I suggest:

    We’ve gotta get that DVD.

  4. Mike said

    p.s. My favorite is the ‘special skills’ section of the website. Apparently he can do a Bugs Bunny impression.

  5. Mike said

    Oh, and to your serious question… Patterson will be given every opportunity to win a job in Spring Training. It wouldn’t even surprise me to see Matos moved now that we have Patterson in the fold and Markakis/Majewski knocking on the door.

    Of course, I’m not saying Patterson should be given a job out of spring training.

  6. Anonymous said

    “I’d also like to point out that Corey Patterson is still 26”

    I disagree.

  7. Mike said

    Born: Aug 13th, 1979.

    I don’t think it’s up for debate.

  8. No Speakz said

    Let me be the first to deduce that
    “Anonymous” is none other than Silent “the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice” Joe Larkin

  9. Mike said

    “‘I’m a guy who can get on base, and if I can steal bases and get into scoring position, that would really help the team,’ Patterson said.”– Source: Yahoo News

  10. Dave said

    Good site. Although as a Cubs fan I will guess that you wont like patterson toomuch. Good read on Spears and Perez though

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