Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Cubs call up Murton, look for Hendry’s ADD meds

I love all the winning, but sometimes I find myself baffled by this organization. To wit:

Matt Murton will get another chance to prove he's a major-league player this week when the Cubs recall him from Triple-A Iowa before Tuesday's game at Tampa Bay.

Manager Lou Piniella said Saturday the Cubs have lacked a corner outfielder and another right-handed hitter since Alfonso Soriano went on the disabled list last week. Murton fills the bill, and major-league sources said he received word on Sunday he'd be called up.

Murton's arrival means the Cubs are likely to send down infielder-outfielder Eric Patterson, who is 2-for-8 since being called up on Friday.

Really? You mean to tell me that a team where one of the two corner outfielders is hurt needs another corner outfielder? And our bench consists of three lefties who don’t hit very well, a backup catcher and Ronny Cedeno? (Note: when you’re willing to pinch hit for a guy with Ronny Cedeno, and that guy’s a first baseman – that’s not a good sign.)

Meanwhile, Eric Patterson was given all of eight at-bats to prove that he was, oh, I don’t know, better than Mike Fontenot. And Mike Fontenot is not a very high bar to get over. Here’s how I picture Mike Fontenot:

fontenot

The guy’s what I like to call a hamster. I mean, seriously, look at him and tell me you don’t see it.

I know Eric Patterson is a guy folks like to hate – and no small amount of it has to do with his brother, Corey – but he’s got some plus attributes to him, which is more than Fontenot has going for him. Patterson can play the outfield and he’s a great baserunner. But he’s not a left fielder, and he’s certainly not ready to be a major league leadoff man.

So the Cubs made this decision based upon information readily available when they made the Hoffpauir/Patterson callup. (Okay, to be fair – the Cubs aren’t going to just come out and SAY “There’s no way in hell that we’re going to let Edmonds bat against Kazmir, so we needed Murton so we can move Reed to center.)

The question is, will Murton play? The Cubs have apparently decided that one good game makes Johnson our new leadoff hitter despite pretty obvious evidence that he’s a platoon player at this point.

More than meets the eye

I think it's conceivable that there's more going on with Patterson than we know.

Last September, E-Patt was called up and demoted in short order, and it was later revealed that he was prolifically late to every game. If he has continued that trend, or has a bad attitude, then the Cubs might have been keeping him on a short leash.

That said, while I am not a Fontenot lover - my favorite LOTR characters were the lanky Elves, not the Hobbits - having seen Patterson play, I can understand why he wasn't strongly considered. He may have gotten 2 hits in 8 at bats, but at least the 3 outs I saw him make personally were UGLY. He looked clueless up there and it was painful to watch him bat.

I kind of wish the Cubs would give a guy a little more time to play, if only to increase trade value if he gets any kind of success, but Patterson sucked the big one and won't Murton be out of options at the end of this year?

Murton should have one more option left after this season.

And remember - they're option years, so at any point during that year he could be optioned.

The bigger issue with Murton may be service time - he may be accruing enough to be able to refuse an optional assignment as early as this summer. I'll have to look into that.

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