Brendan Ryan has been one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball during the last two years in St. Louis. Ryan has been fun to watch roam the middle infield, combining great range and soft hands to steal hits away in support of the pitching staff.
But that fun is quickly coming to an end this offseason. His defensive value isn’t enough to overcome his deficiencies mentally and with the bat, according to St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak.
The Cardinals brought in former Chicago Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot last week in a trade with the Dodgers and had also been rumored in deals for Tampa Bay’s Jason Bartlett and Minnesota’s J.J. Hardy. Bringing in another shortstop would have been ideal for the Cards, which could have then moved Theriot to second base and turned Skip Schumaker into a super utility player. But Mozeliak said the team is done with adding to the middle infield, according to B.J. Rains of FoxSportsMidwest.com.
The only thing left to do is ship Brendan Ryan to another team, possibly the Padres or Pirates.
And that means Ryan Theriot will be the Cardinals starting shortstop for the 2011 season.
Theriot doesn’t have the same range or ability defensively as Ryan, but he brings a proven bat and a mental toughness to the team. And he proved that he was a solid shortstop in Chicago. Theriot is a perfect fit in the St. Louis Cardinals organization despite coming from their biggest rival.
A fresh face with a different attitude could be a nice change at shortstop for the Cards. The team needs to shake things up after the uninspired play in 2010 and Theriot is a great role player for this team.