MLB Trading Places: Ryan Ludwick, Jake Westbrook, and Prospects

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MLB Trading Places: Ryan Ludwick, Jake Westbrook, and Prospects
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Earlier today, a surprise three-way deal went down between the St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, and Cleveland Indians.

Here are how the moves broke down for each team:
  • The Cardinals sent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the San Diego Padres.
  • The Padres sent prospects to both the Cardinals and Indians.  Pitcher Corey Kluber was sent to the Indians, and pitcher Nick Greenwood was sent to the Cardinals.
  • The Indians sent pitcher Jake Westbrook and cash to the Cardinals.

The Padres acquire a much-needed power bat in Ludwick, giving them some protection for Adrian Gonzalez and it also gives the Pads a solid corner outfielder.  The Padres have had a void in production at the plate from their outfield this season, as they are hitting a combined .231 with a .317 OBP and a .360 SLG.  Ludwick, who has missed time this season with a calf injury, is hitting .281/.343/.484 with 11 HR and 43 RBI over 77 games this year.  Ludwick certainly won't produce the numbers that he did during his magical 2008 season, but he still has the ability to drive the ball out of Petco Park.

With the Cardinals shipping Ludwick out, they will now give Jon Jay the everyday right fielder job.  Jay, 25, is hitting .429 since the All Star break with a .519 OBP, but with only 126 career plate appearances at the Major League level, it;s a huge gamble by the Cardinals.  Hopefully the Ludwick move will also see the playing time of Colby Rasmus increase.  Rasmus has both offensive and defensive talent, but is usually on the bench during most games.
 
By acquiring Jake Westbrook from the Indians, the Cardinals have hopefully solved their problems at the back end of their rotation which consists of Blake Hawksworth and Jeff Suppan.  One would have to think that this deal doesn't even happen if Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny were healthy enough to provide some innings down the stretch, but it shows how desperate the Cardinals are to keep the Cincinnati Reds off their tails within the division.  Westbrook is 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 21 starts for the Tribe this season after missing all of the 2009 season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.  The Cardinals also received left-handed pitcher Nick Greenwood from the Padres, who was drafted in the 14th round of the 2009 draft, features a fastball in the high-eighties, and is 8-5 with a 3.12 ERA over two seasons at the Single-A level.

The Indians receive a nice prospect in return for their efforts from the Padres in Corey Kluber.  Kluber, 27, is a 4th round draft pick from 2007 who features a fastball in the low-nineties followed-up with a slider and change-up and has posted good numbers in Double-A this season.  Kluber leads the Texas League with 136 strikeouts over 122 2/3 innings and has also posted a 3.4 SO/BB ratio this season.  Kluber does struggle with his command , as he's posting a 4.0 BB/9 ratio over his past two seasons at the Double-A level.

The deal on the Cardinals side is surprising and questionable, as Ludwick wasn't struggling and given the fact that the Cardinals offense can go cold quickly, Ludwick was still a valuable asset.  The Cardinals will now rely on steady production from a 25-year old with limited major league at-bats down the stretch.  Simply put, the Padres made their team better today by acquiring a power bat on the cheap who can increase their chances of not only making the playoffs this season, but push them beyond the first round.
Reggie Yinger is a programmer and is the Senior Editor at Baseball Press. He previously worked for a Minor League Baseball team and hopes to return to baseball full-time in some fashion. His writing has appeared in a men's national magazaine publication and he contributes to The Fantasy Fix. You can contact him at reggie@baseballpress.com or follow him on Twitter @sacksjacked.

 

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