Is Theriot ticketed for second base?

Ryan "The Riot" Theriot is installed as the Cubs' shortstop. But as Paul Sullivan reports, probably not for long:

    Ryan Theriot lost his arbitration case Saturday and already has been told he will lose his position when the Cubs believe prospect Starlin Castro has proven he's ready to play regularly.

    But Theriot hasn't lost the confidence that helped take him from minor league obscurity to a starting job in the majors even if the 19-year-old Castro could send him back to second base in the not-so-distant future.

    "As of now I am the shortstop, and I have been for three years," Theriot said. "I've done a good job. He's going to have to come get it."


    Baseball America rates Castro as the Cubs' top prospect, saying he has drawn comparisons to players like Miguel Tejada and Edgar Rentaria.

    "For me, it's exciting to know there's someone coming like that who can help this team win," Theriot said.

    "If he comes out and does what everyone says he can do, everybody in this clubhouse is excited and happy for that. To see some of the comparisons have been unbelievable. And I enjoy second base. Second base is fun."

There seems to be a succession plan in place already, huh?

Or not. While shifting Theriot to second base might seem like the obvious move -- especially as he's got a lot in common with David Eckstein -- there are a couple of things to remember. One, Mike Fontenot's the incumbent second baseman, and aside from his disastrous 2009 he's always been a better hitter than Theriot. And two, Theriot's going to start getting expensive in a year or two, and the thing about Riots and Ecksteins is that they're truly valuable only when you're not paying them top dollar.

Theriot probably won't have to compete with Starlin Castro, who's essentially competing with himself. If Theriot wants to keep playing regularly for the Cubs, his competition will eventually be Fontenot.

(Glove slap: BTF's Newsstand)