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nats-release-john-patterson-hes-better-than-dan-smith-right | March | 2008 Articles

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Nats Release John Patterson -- He's Better than Dan Smith, Right?

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So the Washington Nationals just released erstwhile ace John Patterson for "lack of performance." Hard to fault them for cutting ties with a guy who may realistically never be healthy again. He had a terrific year in 2005, but he's a 30 year old with one full season in his career -- the only season he's ever pitched more than 100 innings -- and fewer innings in the past four years than Mike Hampton.  In 9 spring training innings, he gave up 13 hits and 7 earned runs. (However, he did get 7 strikeouts and surrendered no walks.) Apparently, his fastball velocity is still way down from his peak, and at this point in the guy's career, that's a pretty clear red flag. Patterson says, "I'm not hurt. I just think I didn't progress as fast as they wanted." Now there's an understatement. On the other hand, because of his injury history, he's ridiculously cheap: he made $322,500 in 2005, when he pitched 198 innings with a 130 ERA+. Last year, he made $850,000. In his major league career, he has averaged 8.22 K and 3.55 BB per nine innings, both very good marks, despite the fact that he has only pitched 9 innings twice in his career. The point is, he's not an ace, and never was, but he's a pretty good pitcher when healthy. He's too tantalizing to be left to twist in the wind for very long. Someone will snap him up pretty soon. Why not us? We could just stash him at AAA until we needed a spot starter, and pray that he and Mike Hampton didn't synchronize their injury cycles. He's got to be better than Dan Smith, right?

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