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.