Brendan Ryan is gone.
Sunday the Cardinals traded the shortstop to the Seattle Mariners for a pitcher that probably will never wear a Cardinals uniform named Maikel Cleto, but if he does it won’t be in 2011. So for the purpose of this discussion, the Cardinals wanted to get rid of Brendan Ryan and they did so with impunity.
To many, this was akin to puppy murder. The Cardinals were turning their back on the most lovable lug to ever don the interlocking STL.
I happen to not be in this group of Ryan fanatics. In fact here are 3 things I know for sure.
1) Ryan hit under .200 most of the 2010 season and ended up sub .225 batting and sub .300 OBP. Even if you’re hitting 12th that’s pathetic. Perhaps a nagging wrist injury contributed to this offensive decline, but Ryan squashed roughly 300 thousand rallies in 2010 with an untimely strike out or failed bunt attempt.
2) Tony LaRussa yelled at Brendan Ryan in 2010. So did Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols. Those are just the people we know about. Something about Brendan Ryan rubs a lot of co-workers the wrong way. Perhaps its the same qualities that make him so endearing to fans that grates on the nerves of the people he’s with day in and out.
3) Ryan was good defensively. In fact, he’s probably in the top 3 of NL SS’s with the leather. The fans that say the Cardinals don’t value defense and this is proof? Well all the Cards got for Ryan was a Class A project. So that tells me a whole boatload of people also don’t value defense either.
Here’s the bottom line: Brendan Ryan wasn’t going to make or break the Cardinals in 2011.
He just wasn’t.
And because Cardinal fans love baseball, woke up to 4 inches of snow and word that a fan favorite was being dumped for nothing, they railed against the move. And while I certainly think that Ryan could have been a valuable 100 game guy in TLR’s manic line-up shuffle, his absence won’t be nearly as noticeable as people would like to think.
Wish him luck. Root for the guy if you want. Send him some cyber-hugs.
But please, oh please, don’t think that this is that big of a deal. Because it isn’t.