Ryan Theriot's September Swoon Should Remind Cubs Fans You Must Be 'This' Tall To Play Shortstop

Despite all the Cubs' shortcomings, the one that stands out to me is one that won't stand out even if he stands up.

Ryan Theriot, who enters his third straight September sulking and slumping, has done a serviceable job as Chicago's everyday shortstop since coming out from behind the shadows of infielders such as Dusty Baker favorites such as Neifi Perez, Cesar Izturis and Jose Macias, who earned playing time in front of the upstart spark-plug.

Theriot shined in the No. 2 spot in the order in 2008, as hitting between Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee allowed the diminutive second sacker to get some good pitches to drive through holes in the infield.  He hit .307 with a .387 OBP and .745 OPS.  The Riot has already set career highs in home runs, runs batted in so far in 2009.  That's the good news.

The bad news is that he has also set career highs in strikeouts while seeing the number of walks he's drawn tip from 73 to 36.  And let the record show that the much-maligned Alfonso Soriano has drawn exactly four more walks than Theriot -- the guy that everyone in Cubbie blue seemingly wants to anoint as the team's lead-off man.

And I doubt Mark DeRosa's bat is going to help him any.

But if it was up to me, I'd hold off and see if the team could get a real shortstop.  Once upon a time, you could get buy with a no-hit, all-glove shortstop.  Not anymore.  The Cubs could (and should) move Theriot to second base, a position the Cubs have received little-to-no offensive production from and a position that would be easier for him as a defender.

Miguel Tejada (.300/.331/.760, 10 HR, 72 RBI) help strengthen the middle of the Cubs' order, while Marco Scutaro (.280/.380/.787, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 12 SB) could provide a stable force at the very unstable lead-off spot.  Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes could be trade bait, and would be welcome with open arms.  But that's unlikely, especially if Jim Hendry is still in charge.

The only way I can justify Theriot's return to the team's starting shortstop is if the Cubs sign free-agent-to-be Chone Figgins to play second base.

But that's a different blog for a different day.