November 30, 2010: Ryan Theriot is traded to St. Louis and angers his former teammates in Chicago

It didn’t take Ryan Theriot long to ruffle feathers with his former Cubs teammates after the Cardinals traded for him ahead of the 2011 season.

On November 30, 2010, the Cardinals dealt right-handed relief pitcher Blake Hawksworth to obtain Theriot from the Dodgers. The 30-year-old Theriot was due for arbitration in 2011, so at the 2010 trade deadline the Cubs traded him to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and a pair of minor leaguers. Theriot played 54 games for the Dodgers as L.A. finished fourth in the National League West.

On the day the Dodgers traded him to the Cardinals, Theriot announced that he was “finally on the right side” of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry[1] and told a St. Louis radio station that after playing in Chicago, he was excited to now be with an organization where winning the World Series was the goal.

“It was almost an afterthought (in Chicago),” he said. “It really wasn’t talked about too much. It was like an unattainable goal. And now, being here with an organization like this, it’s right there for the taking.”[2]

At the Cubs Convention two months later, Theriot’s former teammates weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure.

“I’m not going to lie, I was a little (ticked),” catcher Geovany Soto said.[3]

Cubs catcher Koyie Hill was even more direct.

“There’s probably a decent chance he’s going to feel how hard the dirt is around the home-plate batters’ box,” Hill said. “At least once, maybe once an at-bat. I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I want to get an apology out of him, and until the whole team, the whole organization kind of feels satisfied.”[4]

 “He’s the enemy now,” added starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano.[5]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – December 1, 2010

In St. Louis, however, Theriot was welcomed with open arms. On December 7, eight days after the trade, the Cardinals announced that they had avoided arbitration with Theriot, signing him to a one-year, $3.3 million deal.[6] At the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up, Albert Pujols said Theriot was a “smart player … who knows how the game should be played.”[7]

In announcing the trade, general manager John Mozeliak said Theriot was expected to inherit the Cardinals’ starting shortstop job in 2011. Brendan Ryan, who hit just .223/.279/.294 in 439 at-bats in 2010, was expected to be traded or moved into a reserve role.

“I certainly think he’s a talented player,” Mozeliak said, “but when you think about us trying to improve our middle infield, one of the things we wanted to do was find someone who fit in very well with the club, someone who played hard, and I think Theriot represented those characteristics.”[8]

For his part, Ryan said he wanted to stay in St. Louis.

“I owe everything to the Cardinals,” he said. “It’s my home. They made my dreams of being in the major leagues come true. They gave me a shot. … As for projecting what this means, I’m keeping quiet for the first time in my life, and let’s see how things unfold.”[9]

On December 12, the Cardinals traded Ryan to the Mariners for relief pitcher Maikel Cleto.

Prior to obtaining Theriot, the Cardinals had explored the possibility of trading for shortstop Jason Bartlett. In exchange for Bartlett, however, the Rays were seeking prospects, while Mozeliak preferred to trade from his major-league depth, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.[10]

Skip Schumaker

With Theriot added to the infield, the Cardinals still had space to add another infielder. Skip Schumaker was slated to return to second base but could also play a utility role if the Cardinals acquired another second baseman. If the Cardinals added a shortstop, they could move Theriot to second, where he had played all of his games with the Dodgers.

“It allows us some flexibility there, because obviously Theriot can play second or short,” Mozeliak said. “If … there is another player out there who allows us some flexibility on the left side, then it does allow us to move Theriot to the right side. It’s hard to say what the next move will look like.”[11]

That issue became moot when the Cardinals signed Lance Berkman to a one-year, $8 million contract. With Berkman in right field, the Cardinals’ lineup was set to begin 2011.

Theriot appeared in 132 games for the Cardinals in 2011, batting .271/.321/.342 with one homer and 47 RBIs. At the trade deadline, the Cardinals traded Alex Castellanos to the Dodgers for Rafael Furcal, who took over the starting shortstop job and moved Theriot into a platoon with Nick Punto.

In the NLDS against the Phillies, Theriot went 6-for-10 with two doubles, an RBI, and a stolen base. He went just 1-for-10 in the NLCS and 1-for-13 in the World Series as the Cardinals captured the 11th world championship in franchise history.

After the season, Theriot signed a free-agent deal with the Giants and hit .270/.316/.321 with 38 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. He went 2-for-3 against the Cardinals in the NLCS and won his second consecutive World Series championship that season when the Giants swept the Tigers in four games.

He retired after the 2012 season with a .281 batting average in 899 career games.

Hawksworth pitched the 2011 season with the Dodgers, going 2-5 with a 4.08 ERA over 53 innings. In January 2012 he had elbow surgery, then underwent shoulder surgery that August. In February 2014, Hawksworth retired with a 10-13 career record and 4.07 ERA.


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[1] Derrick Goold, “Loyalty is essential to Theriot,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 19, 2011.

[2] Paul Sullivan, “New target: Theriot,” Chicago Tribune, January 16, 2011.

[3] Paul Sullivan, “New target: Theriot,” Chicago Tribune, January 16, 2011.

[4] Paul Sullivan, “New target: Theriot,” Chicago Tribune, January 16, 2011.

[5] Paul Sullivan, “New target: Theriot,” Chicago Tribune, January 16, 2011.

[6] Derrick Goold, “Backup catcher up next,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 8, 2010.

[7] Derrick Goold, “Loyalty is essential to Theriot,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 19, 2011.

[8] Joe Strauss, “Cards get Theriot in swap with LA,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 1, 2010.

[9] Derrick Goold, “Ryan hoping Cardinals keep him,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 2, 2010.

[10] Joe Strauss, “Cards get Theriot in swap with LA,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 1, 2010.

[11] Joe Strauss, “Cards get Theriot in swap with LA,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 1, 2010.

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