Okay, Brendan Ryan is never going to be a guy who changes the world, but in many respects he's my kind of ballplayer. He is a defensive whiz, and if you are defensive metrics fan, he led the major leagues in UZR as a shortstop. Though he was sidelined with a wrist injury last year and hit a paltry .223/.279/294, he's never set the world on fire as a hitter and even if he fully recovers, he's likely not going to be a batting star. However, assuming he keeps second base warm until Ackley is ready, he becomes a valuable fill-in guy for Wilson when he is inevitably injured, or take his job if Jack is traded. It allows Figgins to take his best defensive position at 3rd, and makes the entire defense better.
There are lots of folks out there who rightly point out-it's the offense stupid. And of course they're right. But there simply isn't a player out there who can do the things Ryan can do AND hit. At least not for a price the M's can afford in dollars or players. The price for this trade with the Cardinals was Maikel Cleto, an A ball fireballing reliever with questionable control and a scary delivery.
I'm always intrigued by those in the blogosphere that are intensely critical of the Mariners' off season moves. Yes we all know the M's need to score more runs, lots more in order to be competitive in the division races. Yet, each of moves they've made-signing Cust and Olivo, dealing for Ryan, making a deal with Bedard (see my fingers are crossed,) make the ballclub incrementally better. Not good enough to contend, but better. No magic bullets folks.