Patterson's future with the Cubs, already bleak as the result of not one but two consecutive lackluster seasons, was only further clouded earlier in the offseason when the team signed free agent outfielder Jacque Jones from Minnesota and traded three prospects and Sergio Mitre for the flashy Juan Pierre of Florida. The Cubs also signed veteran outfielder Marquis Grissom to a minor league contract earlier this month.
Reached by Inside The Ivy at his parents' home in Atlanta on Monday afternoon, the 26-year-old Patterson said he was "definitely satisfied" with the trade to Baltimore.
"Any team that shows interest in me as a player and thinks I can help their ball club and do great things … it means a lot to me," Patterson said. "When I got the call from Baltimore, they showed me that interest and showed they believed in me and knew the type of player I can be. I want to go out there, give my best effort, and help them win a lot of ball games next year."
The Orioles finished fourth in the AL East behind the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays last season. Baltimore hasn't reached the post-season since 1997 when they lost in the ALCS to Cleveland. As for Patterson, he's not certain as to what his role will be with the O's, but he hopes for continued playing time as a starter somewhere in the not too distant future.
The trade hardly came as a shock to anyone, especially Patterson.
"I saw it coming," Patterson admitted. "I knew there was a good chance it would happen during the offseason. Right now it's probably the best thing for my career."
Asked about the move to the American League, Patterson said, "I don't see a whole lot [of adjustments] coming up other than the DH rule. We're all major league players and you can't get any higher than that level."
In return for Patterson, the Cubs get Perez, a 23-year-old southpaw who won 11 games at Class Mid-A Delmarva of the South Atlantic League in 2005. He struck out 146 and walked 61 in 151 1/3 innings while posting a 4.28 ERA in 27 appearances (all starts). He was fourth in the league in strikeouts and second in number of games started.
The 20-year-old Spears, a fifth-round pick by the Orioles in the 2003 draft, spent 2005 at Class High-A Frederick of the Carolina League and went on to hit .294 with 6 HR and 41 RBI in 112 games. He spent most of the year at second base with limited time at short, and his .294 season average was seventh in the league. Two years ago, during Spears' professional debut season, he led the Gulf Coast League with 40 walks in 56 games. He walked 36 times in 2005.
For his part, Patterson will join the Orioles after eight different seasons with the Cubs. He becomes the second marquee player traded by the Cubs to Baltimore in as many winters. (Last February, the Cubs and Orioles swung a trade which sent baseball diva Sammy Sosa to Baltimore for two minor leaguers and Jerry Hairston.)
"I have nothing against the Cubs," added Patterson. "They let me play and got my career started in major league baseball. Sometimes things just happen and it's time to move on. My career started there, but I have a new beginning with the Orioles and I'm looking forward to it."