The Cardinals Can Have Theriot

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I will use a quote from the character of Rudy on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids to express my opinion of former Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot:

"Man, you're like school during the summer. No class!"

You would think that Theriot would be grateful for his experience with the Cubs. It was the organization that drafted and signed him and brought him to the majors in 2006. It was while with the Cubs, that Theriot was given the opportunity to become an everyday player in 2007 by manager Lou Piniella. Thanks to the Cubs, Theriot became a popular player on one of sports' most famous franchises. Thanks to the Cubs, Theriot became a millionaire.

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The Cubs stuck with Theriot in spite of his poor on-base percentage, astounding lack of power, poor judgment on the basepaths, and weak arm.

But whatever gratefulness Theriot may have had for trhe Cubs evaporated because of events in 2010.

Theriot, last February, became the first player in almost 20 years to take the Cubs to an arbitration hearing. He asked for $3.4 million, but lost the case and was awarded $2.6 million instead.

Starting shortstop Theriot told reporters during spring training that if 20-year-old prospect Starlin Castro wanted his job, "he's going to have to come and get it." It took Castro just five weeks to come and get it and Theriot was shifted to second base before getting traded to the Dodgers on July 31.

Theriot was a likely candidate to be non-tendered by the Dodgers - they signed free-agent infielder Juan Uribe this week - before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday in exchange for pitcher Blake Hawksworth.

Theriot's petty bitterness oozed from the comments he made Wednesday to St. Louis radio station KFNS.

Theriot said he was "finally on the right side of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry."

He said that while he played at LSU, a national championship was always considered an attainable goal. But that during his major league career, talk of a world championship was "almost an afterthought."

"It was like an unattainable goal," Theriot said. "And now, being here (in St. Louis) with an organization like this, it's right there for the taking."

When John McDonough was introduced as team president following the 2006 season, he made it clear that the focus of the Cubs organization was on winning a world championship. And McDonough put the Tribune's money where his mouth was, spending wildly on the likes of Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano, and bringing in a high-profile manager like Piniella in pursuit of a World Series winner.

Did Theriot, a key component of NL Central championship teams in 2007 and 2008, really believe that the organization was not committed to winning? Had he been a member of the Cubs during the Wrigley era perhaps his thinking would be different.

Theriot is expected to take over at shortstop for the Cardinals in 2011. I'll take Castro over Theriot any day.

But I'm also aware, thanks to my father, that Tony LaRussa has gotten big years from former Cubs infielders Tony Womack and Mark Grudzielanek.

"Watch him hit .330," Dad said Tuesday.

Maybe. But, if so, that will, also be Theriot's slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

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