Trade for Ryan Theriot has Cardinals shopping Brendan Ryan

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Earlier this week the Cardinals acquired Ryan Theriot from the Dodgers and made it clear they plan to start him at shortstop, so not surprisingly Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “the Cardinals have let other teams know Brendan Ryan is available and they’ll look to trade him during next week’s winter meetings in Florida, if not sooner.”

“I think he still has some ways that he can help the Cardinals, but if there is a deal out there that makes sense for us we should pursue it,” general manager John Mozeliak told Goold. “We need to be open to having those discussions.”

Ryan had a miserable season at the plate, hitting just .223 with a measly .573 OPS, but he’s an elite defensive shortstop and out-hit Theriot in 2009. He’s also two years younger than Theriot and significantly cheaper, although Goold notes “Ryan’s extroverted personality and occasional antics” along with his “reputation for being flighty.”

At the very least Ryan would make an excellent utility man and the various shortstop-needy teams kicking the tires on guys like Jason Bartlett or J.J. Hardy should definitely be giving Mozeliak a call.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.