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The Brendan Ryan Talk, or, Please, You Should Have a Seat

Hey, I'm glad you're here, Levi. It's great to see you, too! How are things in Robinson? A fine place, Robinson. Let's—it's quieter in the living room, let's just sit down, you and I. Maybe you should—please, you should have a seat. 

Okay, good. Can I get you anything. Water? A soda? Okay. I wanted to be the one to tell you, before you heard it from someone else. It seems there's been an accident.

I know, I know. But sometimes accidents just happen, in spite of all our best efforts. Sometimes it's not anybody's fault. Your friend Brendan, he thought the pain [in his wrist] would go away with rest, and I can't blame him—nobody wants surgery, not even when it might be exactly what you need. But it didn't go away, so even though pitchers and catchers are just about to report, he had to—he had to have it worked on. 

I know he wouldn't want you to worry. It's a relatively minor surgery, and he and his doctors think he'll be just fine in time for the start of the season. And when he's back I'm sure he'll be the same irrepressible Boog you and I both love. But if he isn't... well, I just think we should look over the other options, before it catches us off-guard

Now, you liked to watch Tyler Greene play, didn't you? I know you did. He's got that incredible arm, and the great range, and I'm sure you wouldn't mind seeing this play a few more times, right? Such reflexes! Such a throw! And I probably don't have to tell you that he's been one of the best baserunners in the minor leagues, do I? 

As for his offensive future... well, some projections don't hate it. CHONE thinks he'll hit .244/.310/.382, which approaches average for a shortstop. Bill James suggests .250/.307/.389, which would also work. ZiPS... well, if you insist, ZiPS thinks he'll hit .229/.281/.346. That's less average. 

If he hits like he did in 2009 in Memphis, he could be a nice surprise. He won't be a Brendan Ryan-level nice surprise, but you could get used to him! I'm sure you guys would have a lot of fun together—you could go to the park, or the movies. If he hits like he did for the rest of his career, when he was constantly struggling to reconcile those great tools with the need, in baseball, to put bat on ball on a semi-consistent basis, it will not be so fun. 

And then who could forget our buddy Julio Lugo? It was cool to get him for free, wasn't it? And when you combine his time here in St. Louis with his months in Boston he was still a fine hitter for a shortstop. Why—if the Cardinals could find a way to convert him to shortstop, like they did with Skip Schumaker, he would be exactly who they need if Brendan can't get back on time. 

Now, he probably shouldn't be playing shortstop anymore—UZR thinks he was worth -13 runs, and +/- suggests he managed to make fewer plays than the average shortstop moving to his left (-7), where he used to be excellent; to his right (-8), where he used to be fair; and straight on (-3), probably because he was so worried about having to move to his left or his right. 

If his knees are gone forever, the power and the ability to move he used to have have probably gone with them. But he'll get on base every so often, and he's right-handed, so you can prop him up at second base when a left-handed pitcher comes to visit. I'm—I'm just saying that you don't have to be so negative when he's around. He's a nice guy, really, once you get to know him, and—


Did somebody say something? Did somebody say something?

Oh—hi, Julio. I'm just having a talk with... with... Nope. Nobody said anything. 

Just be quiet, Levi, and he'll leave. No sudden movements, he can see those. That's it, Julio, just slowly... slowly... 



Okay, he's gone. I think. Just don't let him sneak up on me like that again, alright? Look, he shouldn't be playing shortstop every day, or even most days, but if you were to leverage his last strength—getting on base—and minimize the risk of a ball being hit in his direction by replacing him on defense and using him as a pinch hitter and spot starter, he might be useful. I'm sorry he's so creepy, though. You didn't need to see that.

So if the Cardinals worked really hard with what they have, why, it'll at least be better than a replacement player. They could make do. I can't imagine them signing anyone else, with Brendan's status still questionable, unless they already had designs on Felipe Lopez. Felipe—he's not really a shortstop, either, but he's hit more recently. If the money's there, now's the time to pull the trigger on that one. 

Brendan being hurt is scary, but he's going to be fine. And even if he isn't fine, right away, the Cardinals have better shortstop depth than they used to. If he misses a few weeks, they've still got a reasonable chance at some production out of the positions. I'm glad we had this chat, Levi, aren't you? And we stayed calm the whole time. Now if you have any questions I'd love to answer them for you. 

What about Troy? I'm not sure I know who you're talking about.

I mean—oh, that Troy Glaus? He's—he's on a farm somewhere, and he can run all he wants, or doesn't want, and nobody's ever going to excoriate him for being too passive at the plate. He likes it a lot, but it's too far for us to visit. Ever. Are you sure you don't want that soda?