Corey Patterson is staring into an uncertain future. He can only make out bright lights and fuzzy shapes, so he squints to protect his eyes. Though this picture was most likely taken in 2006, it could very well have been taken today. Corey has been a free agent since season's end, and despite his relatively young age (28) and two okayish seasons in Baltimore following his rock-bottom 2005 performance with the Cubs, he is still on the market with a few weeks to go until Spring Training.
I don't feel too badly for Corey. His agent is the dreaded Scott Boras, so he'll get paid sooner or later. After all, his defense in center field is graceful and exciting at once, and he hits enough to keep his bat in the lineup. Although he's allergic to walks, he's cut his strikeout rates nearly in half from 2005-2007. Plus, he steals lots of bases, which is enticing to the non-Moneyball set.
Still, it has to be somewhat humbling to sit idly by and watch the other, more high-profile players at your position sign big contracts. First Torii Hunter, then Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones. Heck, the White Sox and Braves appear to be filling their vacancies in center field through trades (Nick Swisher and Mark Kotsay). You or I would probably feel anxious if we went for three or four months without knowing where we'd be working in the upcoming year.
With the possibility of trading Brian Roberts or Erik Bedard for a package of younger players including a center fielder diminishing by the day, it looks more and more likely that Corey Patterson will call Camden Yards home for at least one more year. I think I'd be up for that. No matter what happens, I hope he finds what he's looking for.