The offseason that seems to have a lot more talk than action continues. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is reporting that the Rays are interested in former Cubs and Cardinals infielder Ryan Theriot. Theriot would provide a good veteran utility-man with a good bat. He would most likely get some starts when the matchup is right, since we all know Joe likes to play the matchups.
At face value it would seem that the Rays already have the middle infield pretty locked up, with Ben Zobrist, Reid Brignac, and Sean Rodriguez at second and short and have no need to sign Theriot. If you dig a little deeper, you find that Theriot has played some outfield and third in 2007. It wasn’t much, spending 18 innings in the outfield and 54 at third, but it is something. The Rays could be thinking he might still be that flexible even after four seasons at second and short exclusively. If that flexibility is still there, Theriot would be a nice addition as a bench guy for the Rays.
Theriot also has a good bat in seven seasons in the big leagues, hitting .282 with a .344 on base percentage for his career. He will not bring any power, with only 17 homers over seven seasons. Last year for the World Series Champion Cardinals, Theriot hit .271 with one homer. Not too bad, but not enough for a spot on their roster. Theriot was non-tendered earlier this offseason.
In the end, Ryan Theriot would bring a good veteran presence with postseason experience, having won the World Series last year. Having a guy who knows what it is like to win the championship can be beneficial to a young team like the Rays, even though the Rays made the playoffs last season. The Rays could try to groom him into this year’s super-utility man, since they always seem to have one guy that plays everywhere. Last year it was Sean Rodriguez, but with Rodriguez stepping into at least a platoon at short the Rays could be in need of a new super-utility man. Theriot would most likely come cheap, but there is some competition as the Braves, Mets, Rockies, and Reds all said to be interested. I wouldn’t want the Rays to spend much, but a cheap one year deal could be perfect for the Rays to get a good bench player.