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Cardinals trade Brendan Ryan for young righty Maikel Cleto

Dec 12, 2010, 3:12 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

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

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.

  1. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 12, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Good luck to Ryan. I do think he will bounce back. Last season he had wrist surgery right before the spring training. Ryan had a terrible first half both at the plate and in the field. He was much better the second half. LaRussa only cuts superstars slack, otherwise if the doctors clear to play, you better play. Had the Cardinals rehabbed Ryan until the middle of May, things might have been different.

  2. paperlions - Dec 12, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Well, the Cardinals pitching staff just got about 40 runs worse (the defensive difference between Ryan and Theriot at SS) over the course of the year.

  3. cintiphil - Dec 13, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    The birds still have a long way to go to rebuild the pitching staff. I think Carpenter is almost done, and they have no one to replace him. Now they have a two man rotation with Wainwright and Garcia, but who else? They have one or two sick arms who might come back, but no guarantee. Perhaps this guy will work out, but you can’t count on that any more than a rookie from AAA coming up and developing into a star. Good luck LaRussa, I don’t 2011 is going to be your year.

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