The Theriot dilemma - KMOV.com

The Theriot dilemma

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St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot dives but misses a ball hit by Cincinnati Reds' Miguel Cairo during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Curry) By Jeff Curry St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot dives but misses a ball hit by Cincinnati Reds' Miguel Cairo during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Curry) By Jeff Curry

(KMOV)-- What are the Cardinals going to do about Ryan Theriot? Can they really expect to win the Central Division with Theriot at the everyday shortstop? For now, it's highly unlikely that Tony La Russa will make a move at short. Theriot is the guy. There's no doubt 'dude can rake". He's hitting .317. He's been a terrific lead off hitter. His career average is .285, so it seems likely that he'll cool off at the plate a bit. Still, there's no complaining about the way he's hit. He has certainly helped the Cardinals offense and deserves to be in the line-up everyday. But that doesn't change the fact that he might be the weakest defensive shortstop in baseball. He's already made eight errors. That puts him on a pace to make about 40 this season, and that's an awful number. The scouting report on Theriot said that he'd make the routine plays, but not the spectacular. In the first month of the season however, he's even struggled to make the routine plays. The Cardinals pitching staff is a "pitch to contact" kind of staff. They're trying to make batters hit ground balls, and that means lots of action for the shortstop. It seems that the Cardinals, as much as any team in baseball, need a sure handed fielder at short. I'd like to see Tyler Greene get some extended playing time there and move Theriot over to his natural position of second base. Skip Schumaker's not close to returning from injury, and when he does, they can figure out what the next step is at that point. For now, it would seem to make sense to make the positional switch and solidify the infield defense.

Clearly, Ryan Theriot has not been the problem in most of the Cardinals defeats so far. You don't have to look much farther than Ryan Franklin's stats to see that the Redbirds should be in much better shape than they are. The Cardinals are first in the National League in batting average, runs and on base percentage, and that's with Albert Pujols hitting . 241. Who would have thought the Cardinals would be in first place in early May with Pujols hitting .241, Chris Carpenter winless on the mound, Ryan Franklin 0-3 with 4 blown saves, and a disabled list that seems to grown longer every day. Not to get too greedy, but this team should be in even better shape than they are. The Franklin situation seems like an easy fix... you just can't pitch him any more with the game on the line. That's a no brainer. The Theriot situation is much harder to deal with. But solid infield defense is a common denominator among championship teams. The Cardinals better tighten up the middle infield, or one of these blown games may end up costing them the division title.

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