The San Diego Padres announced today that Eric Patterson will be coming to the club as the player to be named later in the Adrian Gonzalez trade.

Patterson, who is 27 years old has bounced around quite a bit the past few seasons.  He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2004, and reached the majors in 2007.  Patterson was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2008 as a part of the Rich Harden deal.  Oakland dealt him to Boston last season.

For his career, Patterson has displayed little power (0.353 SLG) and on-base skills (0.299 OBP).  Defensively, he has played second base, and all of the outfield positions, albeit at a below average level at every position (at least according to UZR).

As a major league player, Patterson has been pretty bad, but his minor league record is very solid.

In over 2,500 minor league plate appearances, Patterson has an 0.845 OPS.  1550 of those plate appearances have come in AAA, where Patterson has a 0.363 OBP, and a 0.487 SLG.  Patterson has also displayed good speed, stealing 178 bases in the minor leagues, including a 2009 campaign where he had 43 SB compared to only 6 CS.

In the minors, Patterson played mostly second-base, and rated above average according to total zone (which is probably surprising to Red Sox fans).

For the Padres, Patterson is a nice throw-in to the Gonzalez deal.  The team does not have a second baseman currently on the roster, and Patterson’s minor league track record indicates he might still be a useful major leaguer given the chance (he only has 471 major league plate appearances).

Patterson’s ability to play multiple positions could allow him to fill a utility role on the club, and given the team’s complete lack of depth at the middle infield positions, Patterson may very well find himself starting on the 2011 team.

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