Regardless of his sub-.200 batting average, Brendan Ryan left his mark on Mariners baseball. Ryan is one of the best infield gloves we’ve ever had the chance to witness in a Seattle uniform, making him a runaway winner of the Fielding Bible Award last season as well as a Gold Glove finalist. In fact, it’s safe to say that Ryan losing the AL Gold Glove to J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles last season is one of the reasons they have radically overhauled the judging criteria for that prize this year.
On defense, Ryan had no peer.
Offensively, he was challenged. He knew it, you knew it, I knew it. Heck, we all knew it. On a great team, he’d be a valued asset you could live with — well, maybe if the batting average was about 30 points higher — but on this Mariners team, there was no sugar-coating it. He became a liability. That’s why he lost his job to Brad Miller a few months back and why he was traded last night to the New York Yankees for a player-to-be-named later. Ryan won’t be eligible for post-season play even if he helps the Yankees get there, but at least he’ll have a front-row seat to some interesting baseall rather than seeing his former Mariners team get clobbered by the worst team the sport has to offer.
I’m not here to kick Ryan as he’s headed out the door. Yeah, he’s one of the reasons this team was so bad this season. But he’s got company. And he’s taken enough guff from folks over the years that he doesn’t need any more of it from this corner.
That’s why it’s tough not to root for the guy. Despite all of what he’s had to take without flinching — the comments about his attention deficit disorder, the dissing by former teammate Chris Carpenter in St. Louis, the Gold Glove loss to Hardy, the Mendoza Line jokes and the ignomity of being benched in favor of a player practically straight out of Class AA — Ryan has remained true to himself.
He’s a good guy. Not just because he talks to the media, but because he is. And believe me, we’ve had enough allegedly-talented, not-so-nice guys pass through this so-called family-friendly franchise in recent years that we can appreciate the difference.More
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