The St. Louis Cardinals announced the acquisition of infielder Ryan Theriot in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Blake Hawksworth. The club also signed free agent left-handed pitcher Brian Tallet, most recently with Toronto.
Theriot, who turns 31 on December 7, was dealt to the Dodgers at the trade deadline (July 31) last summer after having spent his entire big league career with the Chicago Cubs, for whom he started at shortstop in 2007 into 2009.
“Ryan is a prefect compliment to our roster,” said Cardinals Senior VP/GM John Mozeliak. “He’s a highly competitive player with a winning approach to the game. We expect him to be a key contributor to our middle infield.”
On ESPN 101 radio Tuesday afternoon, Mozeliak said Theriot should be “seeing a lot of play at shortstop” for the 2011 Cardinals. Asked if Theriot will be the starter, the GM replied to the affirmative. “I think there is a high probability of that, yes… Right now, we envision him as our starting shortstop,” Mo said.
Asked if he would still be in the market for another middle infielder this off-season, “It is certainly possible,” was the GM’s reply.
Theriot (pronounced TARE-ee-oh) made $2.6 million in 2010, his first year of arbitration eligibility. He had lost his hearing after asking the Cubs for $3.4 million. Theriot should be in line for an increase in 2011 and will also be under team control in 2012.
The right-handed hitter owns a career batting mark of .284 with 16 home runs, 182 RBI and 104 stolen bases in 663 games. He combined to bat .270 with two homers and 29 RBI in 150 games with the Cubs and Dodgers last season. Theriot hit a career-best .307 in 2008 and had single-season bests of seven home runs and 54 RBI in 2009. He s a lifetime .303 batter against NL Central clubs and owns a .290 career mark as a leadoff batter.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Baton Rouge, LA native is ranked third among all middle infielders in multiple hit games (156) over the past three seasons, trailing only Robinson Cano (171) and Derek Jeter (167). Theriot has swiped 20 or more bases each of the past four seasons and is one of just seven middle infielders with 90 or more stolen bases since 2007.
Drafted by the Cubs in 2001 out of Louisiana State University, Theriot was used exclusively as a second baseman by the Dodgers following his trade this season and started a combined 112 games at second base and 28 at shortstop in 2010.
The Cardinals agreed to terms with Tallet on a one year contract for the upcoming 2011 season. The 33-year-old left-hander spent the past five seasons (2006-10) with the Toronto Blue Jays after beginning his major league career with Cleveland (2002-05).
Earlier this month, the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder had been granted free agency after declining a minor-league assignment by the Jays. Tallet owns a career mark of 16-23 with a 4.65 ERA in 223 games, including 36 games started. He went 2-6 in 34 games (five starts) for the Blue Jays in 2010.
A native of Oklahoma City, Okla., Tallet has limited left-handed batters to a .245 average over the course of his career. Last season, he held lefties to a .176 batting average (6-for-28) while posting a .231 (36-for-139) opponent’s average with runners in scoring position.
In his Tuesday radio comments, Mozeliak seemed to pencil Tallet into a left-handed specialist role for the 2011 club. The AP reports Tallet's contract is for $750,000.
Tallet also started a career-high 25 games for the Blue Jays in 2009, striking out 120 batters in 160 2/3 innings pitched. He had 11 quality starts that season, including six-straight during the month of May.
Tallet was drafted by the Indians in the second round of the 2000 amateur draft. He and Theriot had been teammates on the 2000 NCAA National Championship LSU team.
Following these moves, the Cardinals' 40-man roster is at 37 players.