The Cardinals did it. They got rid of Brendan Ryan.
St. Louis GM John Mozeliak tried to shop the slick-fielding shortstop throughout the Winter Meetings last week and drew only minimal interest, but Mo pulled off a trade today with the Mariners. This from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
The Cards will get young right-hander Maikel Cleto in return. He’s a 21-year-old with a fastball that reaches into the high-90s, but he turned in an ugly 6.16 ERA and 1.65 WHIP over 102.1 innings at the Single-A level in 2010.
The kid is a raw talent — not fully developed, but a fine return for Mozeliak and Co.
Ryan is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball and should see ample time there for the Mariners in 2011, especially if Jack Wilson’s surgically-repaired right hand continues to be a problem. The 28-year-old Ryan batted only .223 with a 573 OPS in St. Louis this year and was far from an everyday player by the end of his tenure. But it was only a season ago that he registered a 740 OPS and a .292 batting average. While that may have been his peek, who’s to say that he can’t again come close?
The Cardinals acquired Ryan Theriot from the Dodgers earlier this winter and Mozeliak almost immediately named him the club’s new starting shortstop. Some viewed that as a conscious move to drive Brendan out of town, or at least make him expendable, but it was mostly about the Cardinals’ desire to add more offense.
Most of of Ryan’s so-called focus issues in St. Louis were overblown. The Cards simply wanted to upgrade their run production and did exactly that with the Theriot acquisition. Ryan is generally seen as a good clubhouse guy, he was probably just a little too playful for a club with serious-minded veterans like Chris Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols. Oh, and a manager like Tony La Russa. There’s little doubt that he has played a commanding role in all of the Cardinals’ decisions this offseason.
We noted yesterday that in the rush to name the Cubs the saviors of Chicago sports fans everywhere, the 2005 Chicago White Sox — and the 1959 White Sox for that matter — are being completely overlooked as World Series champs and pennant winners, respectively.
That continued last night, as first ESPN and then the Washington Post erased the Chisox out of existence in the name of pushing their Cubs-driven narrative. I mean, get a load of this graphic:
Was there no one at the world’s largest sports network — not an anchor, production assistant, researcher, intern or even a dang janitor who could tell them what was wrong with this? Guess not!
Meanwhile, the normally reliable Barry Svrluga gives the Cubs the 2004 Red Sox treatment as a group of players who will never have to buy a drink in their city again. His story is better about keeping it franchise-centric as opposed to making it a city-wide thing, but whoever is responsible for the tweet promoting the story makes a Cubs World Series a unique thing for not just Cubs fans, but Chicago as a whole:
The White Sox play in the AL Central so I assume their fans have no love at all for the Cleveland Indians. But I can’t help but think a good number of them are rooting for the Tribe simply to push back against the complete whitewashing of the White Sox.
This is happening, people.
Earlier we heard Joe Maddon being non-committal about Kyle Schwarber joining the Cubs for the World Series. Now it seems pretty clear that the Cubs are committal indeed: Jon Morosi reports that Schwarber is en route to Cleveland from Arizona on a private jet and that he’s expected to DH in Game 1 tomorrow night.
Schwarber hasn’t played in a game that counted since April 7. His potent bat is could be a windfall for a Cubs team that didn’t have a game-changing option at DH in the American League park.
Schwarber lost the whole season due to a knee injury, but he hit .246/.355/.487 with 16 homers and 43 RBI in 69 games as a rookie in 2015. His big coming out party was in the playoffs, however, when he hit three homers in five postseason games while going 7-for-13 with two walks in five games.