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Cardinals looking for upgrade over Brendan Ryan at shortstop

Nov 14, 2010, 11:44 AM EDT

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Brendan Ryan is one of the elite defensive shortstops in baseball, but he followed up a solid 2009 season at the plate by hitting just .223 with a lowly .573 OPS this year and general manager John Mozeliak told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the Cardinals will look to upgrade the position this offseason.

Mozeliak indicated that they may also look to upgrade over Skip Schumaker at second base, but shortstop is a higher priority because there’s more optimism about Schumaker bouncing back from his poor 2010:

The basic agenda is how can we get more offense out of those positions or both. There is a school of thought that Skip will produce more than he did last year. There’s a comfort level of that being probable. In Brendan’s case you would hope there would be some improvement, too. But if there were a way to address one of those positions in a positive way, we would pursue it. We probably have more of an emphasis on short than second at this point.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported yesterday that the Cardinals “will likely be aggressive in pursuit of Juan Uribe” and Strauss has written previously that manager Tony La Russa would like to bring in Miguel Tejada.” Uribe and and especially Tejada would be a clear downgrade from Ryan defensively, but based on Mozeliak’s comments the Cardinals are focused on improving the offense even if it means sacrificing some glove work.

  1. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Nov 14, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Ground ball team + good defense = winning team
    Ground ball team + poor defense = losing team

    Tony you should know that! Stop asking for Tejada. I love Brendan Ryan: his defense is fantastic and he is one of the best characters on the Cards right now, but I do understand that he is one of the biggest holes on the lineup day in and day out. It is just foolish to go out and replace him with a player with such poor defense.

    • Charles Gates - Nov 14, 2010 at 2:52 PM

      Good pitchers will still lose games 1-0 if their teams don’t score runs. Just ask Felix Hernandez.

  2. Schroeder - Nov 14, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Because the Cardinals didn’t make do with a slick fielding, no hitting SS for over a dozen years at all.

    • paperlions - Nov 15, 2010 at 7:50 AM

      ….but Tejada is a no hit no field 3B/SS. Yeah, Ryan struggled, but he also saved who knows how many hits and thereby reduced the work load on the pitching staff by a non-trivial amount. The inability to accurately measure defense, which blurs the differences between great and mediocre fielders, has perpetuated the under valuation of defense by managers. Want evidence? Look at who they pick for the GG awards. If managers really paid attention to and properly valued player defense, they wouldn’t make such obviously wrong picks every year.

      • Adam - Nov 15, 2010 at 12:12 PM

        I’m pretty sure he was talking about Ryan being the slick fielding, no hit SS, not Renteria.

  3. willmose - Nov 15, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    The only reason Schumaker is staying because with his $2.7 million salary, he will be very hard to trade without eating a lot of it. Besides, even at million, I doubt there are many teams interested. Ryan, on the other hand, is cheap maybe a half million. Ryan also could be the best defensive SS in the game. At the price and the big upside, there are a number of teams interested. The other thing that is forgotten about Ryan is that he started the season 6 weeks after wrist surgery. By the all-star break his wrist was fully healed and his BA and defensive picked up (although offensively not to 2009 levels).

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Tejada is no longer an offensive upgrade.

    Uribe’s career averages include a .256 AVG, a .300 OBP and 85 OPS+. He’s going to get a ballooned contract he doesn’t fully deserve. He’s as good as Khalil Greene ever got to be.

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