Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ryan Ludwick? Really?

The Padres have made another trade today, acquiring Ryan Ludwick from the Cardinals and sending two minor league players to Cleveland.  St Louis gets Indian pitcher Jake Westbrook.

I think we all know our outfield hasn't exactly lit the lamp with the bat this year.  Scott Hairston and Will Venable have been league average hitters; Tony Gwynn Jr OPS+ hovers at 82.  Ludwick addresses that need in a big way.  His OPS+ is 120; he'll be the best offensive outfielder on the club as soon as he's assigned a number.

My concern for the Padres, in making trades, was that they not upset their run prevention model.  That is why I am not completely sold on the Miguel Tejada deal.  I have no such reservations with this move.  Ludwick is enjoying his best defensive year (based on Dewan plus/minus; he is +5 defensively), which immediately makes him the second-best outfielder on the club behind Gwynn.  He can also play all three positions defensively, giving Bud Black tons of flexibility with the roster.

Ludwick became expendable in St Louis with the stellar play of Jon Jay.  Ludwick is making $5.45M this season, is arbitration eligible for the 2011 campaign, and becomes a free-agent in 2012.  It might be hard to believe, but the Cardinals dumped salary with this move. I don't know if this is a two-month rental or if the Padres will try to keep him for 2011.  The cynic in me says this is a 2-month rental.

No matter.  THIS is the bat the Padres needed to get, and THIS is the defender they need to bring in with that bat.  Great move by the Padres.

Welcome to San Diego, Ryan Ludwick.  You will like it here.

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