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Saving the defense

The Cardinals can still meet their off-season goals of improving the offense while shoring up the defense. But only if they keep Brendan Ryan.





Newly acquired infielder Ryan Theriot is a mediocre defender. He's not nearly as slick as Ryan is at short. But he's a good deal better than converted outfielder Skip Schumaker is at second base. With Theriot at short and Schumaker at second, the middle infield defense grades out at a D.  But with Ryan at short and Theriot at second, it's a solid B. Maybe a B+.





The club needs to leave Matt Holliday alone in left where he's used to playing. He's a statistically above average as a left field defender. Meanwhile, right field wasn't exactly a gold glove spot for the Redbirds in 2010. Berkman isn't going to cover a lot of ground. But he shouldn't be any worse than Allen Craig or Randy Winn were last season.





If the Cardinals move Holliday to right, he's going to have to learn to handle the ball from new angles and his mediocre arm will be exposed. It's best to leave Holliday in left and Colby Rasmus in centerfield where they're comfortable and minimize any defensive damage to the outfield by only changing things around in one spot.

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