Trade bittersweet for Theriot

Trade bittersweet for Theriot

DENVER -- Ryan Theriot thought he would be with the Cubs for his entire career.

"You never want to go," Theriot said Saturday before he packed to join his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. "In the same breath, it's exciting. I'm going to a place that has a wonderful tradition and is obviously all about winning."

Theriot was dealt with pitcher Ted Lilly to the Dodgers on Saturday in exchange for infielder Blake DeWitt, two Minor League pitchers and cash. Both he and Lilly stopped by Coors Field to pick up their gear and say goodbye. They will join the Dodgers on Sunday in San Francisco.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre called Theriot on Saturday.

"He said I could be No. 99 if I wanted to," Theriot said, joking. "He was very excited and just congratulated me and welcomed me. I thought that was very cool, especially coming from a man of his stature. We talked for a few minutes. He said, 'I want you to get here as soon as you can.' It makes you feel good when you get a call from a guy like that."

Theriot, 30, was selected in the third round of the 2001 Draft by the Cubs and thought he would stay in the organization his entire career.

"It was wishful thinking," Theriot said. "I guess things happen. It's a business. Everything can change in a heartbeat, but everything happens for a reason. This is something I'm excited about."

He had started getting word Friday from "credible sources" that a deal was possible. When he was lifted in a double switch during Friday's game, he received more text messages from family, friends and even his agent, asking if a deal had been completed.

Theriot was batting .284 and 5-for-14 on this road trip. Did the move from shortstop to second in early May affect him?

"I don't think it was the move as much as the way the season played out," Theriot said. "Obviously, we're not where we want to be. The Cubs are a proud organization and one that's set up to win. Nobody was happy with what happened. That stuff all rolls downhill and affects people in different ways."

Manager Lou Piniella named Theriot the starting shortstop in 2007, and he had the job until early May when rookie Starlin Castro was called up. Theriot was then shifted to second base.

"You never heard him fuss when he made the move over to second," Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell said. "He did a nice job for us, and I think ultimately [second] is his best position."

Starting in Spring Training, Theriot heard how Castro was the Cubs' shortstop of the future, but he worked with the youngster to ease the transition.

"That's what you're supposed to do," Theriot said. "This game has been around for a long time, and you help your teammates. Anybody would've done the same thing."

Trammell, who has worked with Theriot the past 3 1/2 years, complimented his play.

"He's a good student, and he deseves the credit because he's the one who went out there and played and performed," Trammell said. "He was willing and eager and did a nice job for us."

In February, Theriot and the Cubs went to arbitration, and the infielder lost his case but still earned a significant raise. He made $500,000 in 2009 and was seeking $3.4 million in arbitration. It was the first hearing under general manager Jim Hendry and the Cubs' first since 1993.

Was it a mistake to do that?

"Not at all," Theriot said. "In the situation I was in, I think anybody would've done what I did. It's just one of those deals."

Now that he's leaving, how does Theriot feel about the Cubs' so-called curse?

"No, I don't [believe in it]," Theriot said. "I think when the streak is broken, it will be broken many times in a row. Guys come in and play hard and just hope for the best.

"It has been a long time, though. I don't believe in curses or anything, but yeah, it has been a long time."