Seattle Mariners infielder Brendan Ryan has avoided arbitration today by signing a two-year, $2.75M deal. Ryan was traded to the Mariners by the St. Louis Cardinals in a straight swap for prospect Maikel Cleto, and is expected to earn the starting second baseman job in spring training as well as being a possible shortstop option should Jack Wilson end up traded or injured at some point in the season.
This year was to be Ryan’s first year of arbitration eligibility, and thanks to his poor performance with the bat in 2010 – he hit .223 with just two home runs and 36 RBI in almost 140 games with the Redbirds – was unlikely to have seen a significant raise over his previous salary of $425,000. His first year with the Mariners will see him earn $1M, with a further $1.75M coming in 2012.
Although Ryan’s bat could be charitably described as ‘impotent’ he brings a huge amount of value to the team with his fielding. Ryan is considered one of the best shortstops in baseball, and should provide a top-tier glove wherever the Mariners deploy him. It’s possible that the Mariners see him as their primary shortstop over the next two seasons, which would make the two-year deal a bargain. For Ryan, he gets the financial security of a two-year deal.
The contract will expire before Ryan’s last year of team control, and he will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season.