Mariners trade for Cardinals shortstop
Jack Zduriencik pulled off a trade on Sunday, dealing minor-league pitching prospect Maikel Cleto to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Brendan Ryan, one of the better defensive shortstops in the Major Leagues over the past two years.
No, it’s not a move that answers the Mariners’ offensive problems, but it does provide needed depth for the club in the infield as the Dustin Ackley situation plays out.
Ryan could fill in at second base until Ackley is promoted, then provide help at shortstop where Jack Wilson has been so injury-prone the past two years.
We had a chance to talk to both Zduriencik and Ryan on a conference call after the deal was made and you can read my full story here.
It’s worth noting that Ryan is entering just his first year of arbitration, so he won’t be a free agent until 2014. And at this point, he’s far cheaper — and presumably healthier — than Wilson, who is entering the final season of his $5 million-a-year deal.
Ryan didn’t hit much last year (.223), but was a .292 hitter in 2009 and has the ability to create some things with 25 stolen bases in two years. He and Zduriencik both indicated some of last year’s offensive struggles had to do with a wrist surgery performed just before the start of Spring Training.
Without question, he’s one of the better defensive shortstops in the game and if he can produce offensively somewhere between the high of ’09 and low of ’10, he’ll be a nice addition.
At the least, he’s an upgrade over Josh Wilson at the ultility infield slot. And on the top end of the scale, he would help out temporarily at second base until Ackley’s arrival and eventually replace Wilson at shortstop down the road.
Cleto is a hard-throwing prospect, but at 21 is long way from the big leagues and seems well worth the return on a player who’ll fill a definite need for the Mariners this season and could be part of their building effort going forward.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat of Getty Images)