When the Cardinals shipped Brendan Ryan off to the Mariners in December, we heard rumblings that the gifted gloveman had fallen out of favor with some of his teammates. Now we have some of the details.
According to Gerry Spratt of the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin said during an appearance on KFNS 590 in St. Louis earlier today that Ryan was repeatedly late for buses and practices with the club last season.
“If you’re tardy once, don’t be tardy again,” Franklin said. “But it just kept happening. Veteran guys, we see a two-or-three-year guy do that, that doesn’t sit well, it just doesn’t. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be done.”
The closer said the Cardinals liked Ryan just fine, but that he wouldn’t necessarily be missed in St. Louis.
“Yeah, sure. All right. I’ll miss giving him a hard time.”
The Cardinals may have overlooked those incidents if Ryan remained productive with the bat, but he finished last season with a .223/.279/.294 batting line and a feeble .573 OPS. Only Cesar Izturis had a lower OPS among players with at least 450 plate appearances last season.
Ryan is projected to open the 2011 season as the starting second baseman in Seattle, but he’ll likely move into a timeshare with Jack Wilson at shortstop once top prospect Dustin Ackley is deemed ready for the big leagues.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?