Matt Murton Called Up, Eric Patterson Sent Down

The Big Murt is back. For the 2nd time this season (the 1st being April 19th) the Cubs have recalled Matt Murton from Iowa at the expense of Eric Patterson. And this time, you're never going to guess why.

Get this...the Cubs have called on Murton this time around because they've decided that they need a right handed bat. Are ya kiddin' me? All year all we've heard about is how the Cubs are "too" right handed. Damn near every roster decision has been made in the shadow of "We gotta get another left-handed bat in here." Now we're too left handed?

Murton got right into the action, starting in tonight's 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Ray's against Rays starting lefty Scott Kazmir. This move would make more sense to me if the Cubs had a bunch of lefty starters lined up in the next few days. But, I just checked. The Cubs are scheduled to face only 2 lefties in their next 8 games (Righties Andy Sonnanstine and James Shields vs. the Rays, then lefty John Danks with the ChiSox, then back to righties Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez before an off day, then righty Jeremy Guthrie with Baltimore, lefty Brian Burress, and another righty Radhames Liz [who is apparently a major league pitcher]). And that takes us through 6/26. Where's the additional need for a left-handed stick?

I said here on June 11th that if the Cubs didn't call up Murton after Soriano that someone would have to explain to me why we're keeping the guy around. Thinking about this move...I think I got the answer to that question tonight. Answer: we're not keeping Murton around. Not for much longer anyway. Mark it down and remember that you heard it here first kids-the only reason the Cubs swapped out Patterson for Murton today is that other MLB teams are asking to see Murton play at the major league level because he will soon be included as part of a deal that brings a starting pitcher to the Cubs.

Performance isn't the reason: Patterson was hitting .326 with a .875 OPS and 5 HRs for Iowa at the time he was called up. Murton was only hitting .311 with an OPS of .811 and showing no power with only 1 HR in a comparable number of ABs to Patterson. Since Patterson's call, he was 2 for 8 with a Rib and 2 Ks and was generally holding his own. Positional availability isn't the reason: Murton can really only play LF and RF. We've got plenty of guys that can play the corners. Patterson can play LF, but can also play CF and 2B.

If the Cubs had a bunch of lefties ahead of them and were genuinely concerned about the number of right handed hitters we had available, maybe I'd believe this one. But they don't. And so I don't. This move doesn't make a whole lot of sense and, frankly, stinks. It's got to be simply to show clubs that Murton isn't a complete deadbeat at the plate at the major league level.

We'll get some more up on some Cubs trade rumors I'm hearing this week, but for now, I'm going to go get my "I told you so" party supplies.

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