Sunday, March 20, 2011

So Long, Pat-Pat

The big news on Sunday was when Pat Neshek tweeted that he was now a member of the San Diego Padres. It was pretty interesting to watch my Twitter feed blow up with remarks from stunned Twins fans and media members.

He was put on outright waivers on Friday and picked up by the Padres on Sunday. He still had one more minor-league option, but rather than just option him to AAA, the Twins put him on waivers. They did this to open up a spot on the 40-man roster, but Bill Smith indicated that the Twins aren't adding anyone right away. Kelsie Smith of the PiPress tweeted that this means that the Twins tried to trade him, couldn't, so they placed him on waivers. It's still kind of head-scratcher, though.

Pat is a local kid and a fan favorite. He gained a lot of popularity as soon as he broke into the big leagues with his funky pitching style and his approachability through his blog, Twitter, and Facebook. He had great promise in 2006 and 2007, but then was sidelined by Tommy John surgery in 2008 and missed all of 2009. He never really got his groove back in 2010, and looked absolutely out of gas by the end of the season. This spring, his velocity hasn't yet peaked where it should be, and it seems like his sharpness is still a work-in-progress.

He also may have fallen slightly out of favor with the Twins coaching staff and front office. In 2010, when he has having forearm soreness, he announced on Facebook his frustration with the Twins' medical staff for misdiagnosing his injury. However, as Phil Mackey from ESPN notes in his blog, if they were really upset, they wouldn't have re-signed him this off-season.

This may be a great opportunity for Pat. It's clear that he wouldn't have made the big club out of spring training; he may have a better chance for being in the major league bullpen with the Padres. Also, he'll have an advantage going to the National League and facing batters who aren't used to his delivery. I speak for Twins fans when I say that we wish him all the best of luck in San Diego. (Psst...the Padres are due to visit Target Field in June. Let's hope we get to see him then.)


Scruffy Rube said...

One funny side effect of Neshek leaving is that I notice all the Twins bloggers/internet denizens on message boards saying: "Good luck Pat!" or "We wish him the best!" It's like he's moving to another school district and everybody wants to write on his yearbook before he leaves town.

That may sound snide, but seriously, I love that about Twins fans. I love that we're so hopeful and excited for Neshek. I imagine other fans (like say, Red Sox fans) wouldn't give a good gosh darn if a middle-reliever from Cambridge Mass. left, because they could find another, better (more expensive) player to fill the void and bring home a trophy.

I like that Twins fans like the players, not just the uniform the players wear.

k-bro said...

Scruffy, I was thinking the very same thing. No other player generated so much internet ink upon his departure as Pat.

I don't know why exactly. Maybe it's the suddenness of it. Maybe it's because we heard it first from Pat himself.

I think it's mostly because we all felt like he was one of us. It was like he had to hang out with the cool kids, but he'd still come sit at the nerd table from time to time because he liked us better.

At any rate, I agree. Twins fans are great for getting to know the men, and not just rooting for laundry.