“We felt this was a really good fit for us,” Mozeliak said. “This is not necessarily the last move we’re going to make between now and opening day, but if we did have to start today he would likely be our shortstop.”
Music to Theriot’s ears.
“I think every player as a competitor should go in there with that mindset,” Theriot said in a conference call. “I don’t want to be that utility player, I want to be out there playing. I can’t help a team if I’m sitting on the bench.”
Mozeliak said last year’s starting shortstop, Brendan Ryan, would either be traded or would become a utility backup. Ryan has great range defensively but had a poor offensive season, batting .223 with a .279 on-base percentage.
“I’m not going to rule out anything right now,” Mozeliak said. “It’s way too soon to decide that fate.”
Also too soon to say for sure that Theriot will play shortstop. Mozeliak said Theriot could move to second base, where converted outfielder Skip Schumaker has started the last two seasons, if the Cardinals can find a better shortstop upgrade the rest of the offseason.
Theriot batted a career-high .307 in 2008 and is a lifetime .284 hitter in 663 games. He is third among middle infielders in multihit games over the past three seasons, trailing only Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, and has stolen at least 20 bases in each of the last four seasons.