Diamondbacks Address Bullpen Need With Paterson
PHOENIX—The Diamondbacks have not had a true lefthanded specialist in the bullpen since they parted with Javier Lopez after the 2005 season, but that could change this year—and Lopez may have had something to do with it.
The Diamondbacks selected Joe Paterson with the third pick in the Rule 5 draft and will give him every opportunity to help a bullpen that last season had the sixth-worst ERA (5.74) in the major leagues since 1953. He was available because the Giants chose not to protect him, perhaps because Lopez played such a valuable role for them down the stretch and in the postseason.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Paterson, who uses an extreme sidearm delivery similar to Lopez, was 5-3, 3.03 in stops at high Class A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno last season.
"He's an angles guy who brings a different look to our bullpen," Diamondbacks director of scouting and player personnel Jerry Dipoto said. "We've talked about this from the start, that we wanted to add different looks and different angles. It's a severe cross-body delivery. It's a low arm slot. He gives a lefthander a tough look."
Paterson, 24, relies on a running fastball and a sweeping curve, and both are effective because of his funky style. He was 20-12, 2.64 in four seasons in the Giants' organization after being a 10th-round pick from Oregon State in 2007. He won College World Series titles with the Beavers in 2006 and 2007.
Paterson and veteran lefthander Mike Hampton, who signed a minor league contract with a spring training invitation, are the top contenders for the lefty bullpen spots manager Kirk Gibson hopes to fill.
"He is going to have to lose that job. That being said, he has no previous major league experience. This will be his test run, and there are no promises," Dipoto said.
• The Diamondbacks finalized the Zach Duke trade by sending lefthander Cesar Valdez to the Pirates after the Rule 5 draft. Valdez beat Houston in his big league debut, giving up one run in five innings May 3, but he was 1-2, 7.65 in 20 innings before returning to Triple-A Reno.
• The Diamondbacks selected outfielder Jose Rivero from the Mariners in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft then traded him to the Athletics for cash considerations a few days later. Rivero, 21, hit .268/.355/.424 in four seasons in the Mariners system, all which were spent in short-season leagues.