Monday, June 27, 2005

What are we gonna do with you?

"Maybe I should lead off the bottom third of the order instead."

After publicly complaining and refusing to adjust to the lead off spot, Corey has "turned a corner." In a remarkable display of maturity and growth, Patterson approached Dusty Baker last week and asked to bat lead off. Gee, I'm so excitied. (Sarcastic Clapping)

Baker was thrilled by this, despite the fact that Corey hasn't made any changes in his hitting approach that would lead anyone to think that he could actually be successful in the role.
Just because he says he wants to lead off doesn't mean that he is ready to. It doesn't even mean that he really wants to. I suspect that this is less of a sign that Corey has changed, and more of an indication that he knows he is running out of time to prove himself. Trade rumors are running wild, and the fans and the front office are running out of patience with him.
But even if he has had a change of heart, the fact remains that Patterson's on base percentage and strikeout numbers are atrocious for a lead off hitter and are among the worst of any player in the NL. Even more atrocious is his walk to strikeout ratio of 1:5.

Teammate Todd Walker described it best when he said, "Corey just needs to learn how to do some of the little things better...
like not suck."

Can Corey ever learn? Maybe. He's far from being a lost cause. He does have the tools (so long as you don't consider plate discipline a tool), and he is still only 25. He has the ability to do great things for years to come. But what he can't do is learn how to be a lead off hitter by tomorrow which is what the Cubs are asking of him. This doesn't seem fair to Corey, or the the rest of the team, and least of all, fans like me. It's not unlike forcing LaTroy Hawkins to be a closer. Forcing Corey into the lead off spot is a recipe for failure. The problem is that Cubs need a lead off hitter and they need one now.

So do we trade him? It's hard to say. It would have to be a really sweet deal (which will be unlikely after he struggles in the lead off spot and lowers his trade value even more). He's too young and too talented and does too many other things well to just get rid of, especially since he's home grown. Personally, I think the Cubs should just use him in the middle or bottom of the order and acquire a lead off hitter from somewhere else, like, say getting Mark Kotsay from Oakland. That would be saweet.

Having the right guy at the top of the line up would make the difference between the Cubs being a good team and a great team. They would finally start to gel as an offense, and score runs more consistently. The great teams all have a guy like Johnny Damon, Juan Pierre, David Eckstein, or (as we saw this weekend) Scott Podsednick. Corey is not that guy for the Cubs, at least not this year.


Post a Comment

<< Home