2009 Player Previews - David Patton
All over Arizona and Florida, young pitchers who have never appeared about High Class A ball have had great springs, and were sent back to minor league camps for reassignment to AA and AAA teams. However, on the so-called prohibitive NL Central favorite, David Patton is told to haul a neon-orange kiddy backpack full of gum and sunflower seeds for noted snack hogs Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, and Neil Cotts. For Patton is now a member of your Chicago Cubs.
Should this be surprising? Maybe not. One would assume Jim Hendry and his staff scouted Patton extensively before making him their Rule V pick, for they wouldn't waste the pick on someone not likely to make the club. Patton has pitched well this spring, but even considering that, he was not likely to make the club except as a stopgap security measure, if one of the people being counted on to make the club really sucked.
And Chad Gaudin really sucked. I would assume that what happened to him this spring went like this - he wanted to be considered for the fifth starter role. Both Heilman and Marshall started off strong. Losing hope, he started pitching worse, and since he was the cheaper of the two "buyout" options - his $2MM to Vizcaino's $4MM - probably started hearing the rumors. The rumors fed, grew, and eventually became prophecy.
Anyway, even if Patton were to stick with the Cubs all year, he wouldn't even be THE Feelgood Story - that would be Angel Guzman, he of the Seven-Year Rehab. Basically, all Patton has to do this year is the grunt work - not just packing snacks, but picking up 6th and 7th inning outs. I can't see him doing that all year - maybe Hendry sees something I don't. In fact, he probably does.