Shortstop: Brendan Ryan #26
30 years old; Experience: five years
Little known fact (unless you read the Dustin Ackley entry below) about Brendan Ryan - last year he was the second most valuable position player on the Mariners in terms of Wins Above Replacement at 2.6. Virtually all of that value comes from Ryan being an above average defender at shortstop. Ryan spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals before coming over to the Mariners last year, and the big cheeses at Safeco were well aware of what they were getting. An occasionally decent hitting shortstop that prevents more runs from scoring then he generally provides.
That is really all there is to Ryan. Which is unfortunate, as defensive players tend not to get appreciated much in the baseball realm outside of the Baseball Tonight web-gems. But Ryan as a hitter doesn't bring much to the plate at all. He is a career .256 hitter with 12 homeruns in five years. Ryan doesn't strike out as often as a lot of bad hitters do, which is good. Last year his BABIP was right about on par with his career average - in fact a lot of his stats last year were right about on par with his career average. It leaves to be said that most likely if Ryan plays a full year with the Mariners we could very well see the exact same stats he put up last year. Probably statistically impossible, but still a possibility, possibly.
For now, Ryan is a stop-gap until the Mariners find a shortstop that is a better hitter and as good of a fielder. And until then, that is a perfectly suitable plan. Ryan comes pretty cheap, he is only making around a million dollars this year. He'll remain under team control next year as an arbitration-eligible player, so even if the Mariners have no one quite ready, we can expect another year of Ryan hitting singles and occasionally stealing a base.