2009 Recap: Dave Patton
It's not every day that a competitive baseball team will take a risk on a Rule 5 draft pick the way the Cubs did on Patton. But clearly, Jim Hendry must've known that Patton is special, right? Clearly the Cubs management knew of Patton's ungodly, unbeatable talent or else they wouldn't have held onto him, correct?
Or maybe we should have seen Patton's forced inclusion onto the roster as clear and dramatic evidence that the Cubs were not even remotely close to competing for the playoffs in 2009.
His numbers lend blinding evidence to that very fact: 27.2 innings pitched, 31 hits, 19 walks to 23 strikeouts, 21 earned runs. An ERA of 6.83. A prolonged "injury" that was about as real as the Iron Sheik's devastating Cobra Clutch. It was no shock to see Patton miss all that time, only to return once the rosters expanded and Lou Piniella found himself with many, many more options in front of Patton and his softball express.
So -- was it all worth it? Will Patton develop into a devastating starting pitcher now that the Cubs have the option of taking some time with him? No. He hasn't started a game since 2005, when he posted a 7.23 ERA in low A ball. No worries, a lot of good minor league relievers develop into good major league relievers, right? No?
The problem is, there aren't very many Johan Santana's available to be plucked away in the Rule 5. And if there's another one floating out there right now, his name is not Dave Patton. Why the Cubs grabbed him, held onto him, and perhaps plan to use him again in 2010 or beyond is an astonishing thing that makes about as much sense as the concept of accusing somebody of doing nothing while fearing that he's changing everything. It's just stupid. Like Ronny Cedeno-level stupid.
But hey! New owner! New era! Go Cubs!