Earlier this week the Cardinals came to terms with the Dodgers in a deal that sent pitcher Blake Hawksworth to L.A. in exchange for middle infielder Ryan Theriot. I’d posted on twitter when news broke that I liked the trade and still feel the same way. Many sent replies my way that was quite the opposite including a couple Cubs fans taunting my positive outlook of what Theriot would bring to St. Louis. Many of my fellow bloggers have already given their thoughts and takeaways on the subject and I’m sure are on the edge of their seats eagerly waiting for mine. *tons of sarcasm*
Before I continue I’d like to say that I’m a huge Brendan Ryan fan. I like his goofy personality, his shoulder licking at the plate, his ability to make plays at short that make grown men blush, and of course his ability to spin and grow a moustache. Please keep this in mind as I continue.
Blake Hawksworth was a serviceable pitcher for the Cardinals along with being an all around good guy. He was never the guy you wanted on the mound with the game on the line though. With relievers such as Motte, McClellan, Boggs, Franklin, and Salas available from the right side Hawksworth became expendable. So we essentially traded a replacement level reliever for a replacement level middle infielder right? I’m sorry but I’ve got to feel good about that considering our lack of depth in the middle infield. I don’t feel good about immediately slotting Theriot in as the starting shortstop but as far as the actual trade I’m good.
One thing missing from the Cardinals lineup last season was someone who I’d consider a true leadoff hitter. I can’t remember the final tally but I know TLR used double digit different leadoff hitters last season in an attempt to put guys on in front of Albert and Matt. This is where Theriot comes in. He’s a singles hitter that doesn’t strike out often and has some speed along with being regarded as a good base runner. A little like David Eckstein I guess, but a little taller and with more speed.
So with all that said then why is a healthy portion of Cardinal Nation so up in arms? Well, you see, shortly after the deal was completed John Mozeliak wasted little time in saying that as of now Ryan Theriot would be the Cardinals starting shortstop. Most think Theriot is not enough of an offensive upgrade to overcome the defense we would lose. Mo also made it clear that they would be pursuing options as far as dealing Brendan Ryan. When asked if there was a chance that Brendan would remain part of the team Mo stated the concerns within the organization towards Brendan’s attitude and whether or not he was a fit for the clubhouse. Give me a break! Anyone else sick of hearing this same song and dance regarding clubhouse chemistry and attitude? I sure am. Chemistry is for relationships and marriage, not Major League Baseball teams.
I’m tired of Tony filling out his lineup card based on mindset and not ability. Again I’m good with bringing in Theriot but let’s not ship out the best defensive shortstop in the game based on flightiness and lack of clubhouse chemistry. Brendan wants another shot in St. Louis and I’m hopeful he’ll get it one way or another. We need some non Aaron Miles depth off the bench and Brendan would be a fantastic defensive replacement late in games along with getting his share of opportunities to spot start.
In closing I’m guessing Brendan’s fate may well be decided at the upcoming winter meetings or shortly after. I’m sure Mo will be heading Kevin Towers’ direction to discuss Stephen Drew and Kelly Johnson. The Cardinals also have J.J. Hardy, Jason Bartlett (N0), Marco Scutaro, Orlando Hudson (A free agent every year), and others on the radar. All we can really do is just wait and see. Regardless of whether Brendan’s a member of the Cardinals or not next season we just need to remember it’s the General Manager’s job to represent the name on the front of the jersey and not the back. It’s nothing personal, just business.
Also as I write this the Red Sox are in the midst of finalizing a deal with the Padres that will send 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Sox in exchange for some of Boston’s top prospects. Gonzalez is seeking and is expected to receive a Ryan Howard like deal. I’m bringing this up now because I felt Boston was the #1 contender to sign Albert Pujols if he were to become a free agent. With this development I think it’s almost certain that the Yankees and Red Sox would not be involved in any sort of bidding war for the superstar. To me this leaves the Mets, Angels, and possibly the Dodgers left. I’m not saying other teams couldn’t jump in the mix but it’s looking better and better that Albert remains in St. Louis. I’m still banking a deal is done in the next couple months.