SEATTLE -- As Kyle Seager headed to the field for routine stretches before an unremarkable September game between two regular teams that will not be making the playoffs, he saw a decidedly unordinary sight. Shortstop Brendan Ryan, a Mariners mainstay since 2011, was packing his bags, having just been traded to the Yankees.
"It was definitely a surprise," Seager said. "I wish him nothing but the best; I was actually running in to head up to the field and everything, and I saw people around him, and he said he was going to the Yankees. It was definitely a shock, and hopefully it'll be a good opportunity for him there."
As inconsistent as Ryan was at the plate -- he has been below the Mendoza line for two seasons now -- he was consistently excellent in the field. The 31-year-old will leave behind a legacy of exceptional infield defense, one he has imparted on Seattle's younger players.
"That's why I was excited to come into Spring Training and get to be around those guys for the first time and try and pick up and then use it," Brad Miller said. "He was a great teammate, and he even said, 'Hey, keep working on the stuff we've been talking about,' and that's awesome. That really is the sign of a pretty good teammate."
The arrival of Miller from Triple-A relegated Ryan to a part-time role early in the summer. The rookie shortstop entered Wednesday's game batting .259 with 31 RBIs, and he has played well enough defensively to be the club's everyday shortstop. Ryan impressed teammates and coaches alike with his mature reaction to the demotion as he sought to help Miller improve.
"I thought that Brendan Ryan handled it like a pro," manager Eric Wedge said. "When you talk about young kids coming up and taking playing time from you, it's something that you've got to handle one way or the other, and I thought he handled it the right way -- like a pro. Not only that but he was working to try to help those guys, and that says a lot for him."
Now Ryan will have a chance to make an impact for a contender. Although he will be ineligible for postseason play, Ryan can provide clutch defensive play for the Yankees, who are in thick of the Wild Card race.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.