Sunday, March 20, 2011

So Long Pat

Pat Neshek was claimed off of waivers by the San Diego Padres today. The announcement came from Neshek, via his twitter page: "I just got news that I am now a member of the San Diego Padres, packing up & heading west."

With that statement, Neshek was gone.  Pat was let go to provide the Twins with flexibility on the 40 man roster. The Twins could have optioned Neshek to AAA. He had an option left. They chose to let him walk for nothing. Any American League team could have had him and passed and 11 National League teams passed on him before San Diego picked him up.

Neshek had an excellent to start his career. He went 11-4 in 2006 and 2007 with a 2.19 ERA in 06 and 2.94 ERA in 07. He hasn't been good since. He has had an ERA of nearly 5 since 2008 and hasn't fully recovered from 2009 Tommy John surgery. He's only pitched 22.1 innings for the Twins since the end of the 2007 season. He's essentially been a WAR 0 player since 2007. His quirky delivery and deception made him a dominant reliever early in his career, but with a fastball in the mid 80s, deception might not be enough anymore.

Once Neshek made his announcement, twitter exploded in mostly anti-Twins, pro-Neshek grumbling.

Why all of the stress over a fringe player who is already 30 years old and he has gotten roughed up this spring?

First, he's one of us. He graduated from Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, MN. We love our Minnesota guys in Twins Territory.

Second and most important, he's a great guy. He speaks with fans on his site, (one that has a similar name to this one), as well as Facebook and twitter. His site is very comprehensive in reaching out to his fans. Fans can trade cards with him or chat with him and each other on the site's message board. The site has a lot of good content for fans. His site even helped him meet his wife. The first thing you see on the page, pretty much says everything about his fan friendliness. There is a standard greeting from Pat followed by instructions, for fans, to send him items to autograph.

I followed those instructions and received this:

I sent him this card in early November 2009. I'd asked if he could put a Christmas message to my stepson, if he had a chance to before the holiday. It was already November, the season was over and he's a busy guy. I honestly didn't expect he'd get to the card before Christmas. I received the signed card back in less than 2 weeks. What a great Christmas gift to a kid. A Personalized message from a major league player.

Many feel sad for Pat as well. Sad that his hometown team gave up on him. Don't be sad. His time with the Twins was up. He wasn't going to make their opening day roster. Now he gets a chance to make a team who calls home Petco Park. The best pitcher's park in the majors. He gets a chance to play in one of the nicest cities in America.

He only pitched 129.2 innings for the Twins, but will forever be a fan favorite. 

Good Luck to one of my favorite players. I hope he is an all star for the Padres. 

I hope to get a signed Padres card someday!