In the past week, the Pirates started Xavier Paul, Alex Presley, and Matt Diaz in left field. While Presley has done well in limited action -- with a .402 OBP in 81 at-bats -- he was put on the disabled list last Monday with a thumb injury. The Pirates entered Sunday's action 3-1/2 games out of first place, which is close enough to want to improve, but far enough away to feel wary about making a huge short-term move. This trade strikes a pretty fair balance.
Ludwick is hitting .238/.301/.373 for the Padres this year, which looks bad until you shine the numbers through the Petco Park prism, and then ... they still don't look that good (92 OPS+). But he's doing okay against left-handed pitching, and the Pirates didn't exactly mortgage the future for him. Of course, Jameson Taillon was a first rounder last year, so if he were in any deal, he'd have to be a player to be named later. Hint hint!
As a contender, the Cleveland Indians aren't the kind of team that's going to make a really sexy addition, but that doesn't mean they aren't looking to improve. On Thursday, they pulled off a Kosuke Fukudome trade with the Cubs. And now, on Friday, Ken Rosenthal tells us they're going after another outfielder as well:
#Indians making strong push for Ludwick.
Why would the Indians go after an outfielder, a day after adding an outfielder? Because they're playing without the injured Shin-soo Choo and Grady Sizemore, and have lately played a lot of Austin Kearns, Ezequiel Carrera and Michael Brantley. Brantley's useful, but Kearns hasn't done anything, and Carrera looks like he's in over his head. As the Indians are only 1.5 games out of first, improvements are needed, and though both Choo and Sizemore are expected to return before the end of the year, the Indians can worry about an outfielder surplus if and when they have an outfielder surplus. The focus now is on remaining in contention.
Ludwick has been an Indian before, between 2003-2005. He's had a down season with the Padres, but he's an affordable, short-term get with power upside, so he's a sensible target for a team like Cleveland. The San Diego Union-Tribune mentioned some trade rumblings on Thursday, so Ludwick could go at any moment.
#phillies, #reds, #braves, #indians pursuing ludwick, a solid defender and good rbi man.
It makes perfect sense. The teams that were interested in higher-profile players have joined smaller-market teams in turning their attention now to something a little lower that won't cost nearly as much. Ludwick fits the bill.
Ludwick is a virtual lock to be moved, as he's a veteran in the last year of his contract, playing for a lousy team. His OPS is a disappointing .675, but he was an above-average hitter the previous two seasons and an excellent hitter in 2008, and he can hold his own in the field. In other words, there's both upside and limited commitment. Ludwick could be had for a fairly low price, and he could be of considerable help down the stretch.
Or he could suck. Who knows? It's two months. Never bet on baseball.