“What Ever Happened To…” is a monthly series held in the third week looking at various Toronto Blue Jays over the years who fans were glad to see go. In a 162 game season you won’t see the same 25 guys that start the season, finish the season. Throughout the year, injuries, trades, promotions and demotions happen, which ultimately leaves the core players in tact, but ‘fill in’ pieces come and go.
In 2011, the first year of John Farrell as the Blue Jays Manager, the team had plenty of ‘fill ins’ to compliment the core players. One player that fits the bill as a career fill in is former outfielder Corey Patterson.
Patterson signed a minor league deal at the start of spring training 2011 with the Blue Jays, with the intention of winning the fourth outfielder job. In theory, the outfield was supposed to be Travis Snider in leftfield, Rajai Davis in centerfield and Jose Bautista in right field, with Scott Podsednik as the fourth outfielder.
However, due to a foot ailment, Podsednik wouldn’t even make the Blue Jays, and Patterson would win the job by default. When Jose Bautista was forced to move to third base because Edwin Encarnacion was too much of a defensive liability, Patterson would receive every day at bats as the right fielder.
Eventually, Bautista would return to right field, as the Blue Jays would use a platoon of Jayson Nix and Edwin Encarnacion at third and then Patterson and Eric Thames would platoon in left, as Snider would be demoted.
In total, Corey Patterson would play 89 games with the Toronto Blue Jays, hitting six home runs, 33 RBI, and 689 OPS. Despite relatively good numbers for a fourth outfielder, Patterson was absolutely loathed for his defense in Toronto, by the fans and media alike. Nevertheless, Patterson was a huge part in a mid July trade that would bring current Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus to the team.
Along with Patterson, pitchers Mark Rzepcynski, Octavio Dotel, and Edwin Jackson would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for the aforementioned Colby Rasmus, along with relief pitchers PJ Walters, Brian Tallet and Trevor Miller. For all intents and purposes, Patterson got the last laugh on his critics, as he would eventually become a World Series Champion, while the Blue Jays now only have Rasmus from that deal.
But what ever happened to Corey Patterson? Well, after Patterson won the World Series, the 12-year veteran thought he should take his chances as a free agent, so that he could play full time instead of in a backup role with the Cardinals.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for much of his career, Patterson would once again have to sign a minor league contract, this time with the Milwaukee Brewers. As Brewers fans will tell you, this isn’t the first time Patterson has joined the team, as he spent 11 games with the Brewers in 2009. This story doesn’t have a happy ending, as the Brewers would release Corey Patterson after failing to make the team out of training camp.