Remember how nonplussed I was with the Tejada trade? I couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a witty title. Now look at the title for this post. So witty. So plussed.
Earlier today, the Padres pulled the trigger on a trade for Ryan Ludwick, getting him away from the Cardinals in a three-way deal that also sent Jake Westbrook from Cleveland to St. Louis.
After flirting with Jayson Werth earlier in the week, the Padres may have made a better deal. While Ludwick doesn’t have Werth’s mighty beard (Werth doesn’t have it anymore either), he’s got the type of numbers that should make you excited.
Ludwick’s in the middle of another solid season, posting a 123 wRC+ with an 8.8 UZR. From 2007 (his breakout season) through 2009, he had a line of .280/.350/.512 while playing in the new Busch Stadium, which is not hitter-friendly. It’s no Petco* but there’s no reason to fear that Ludwick will collapse once he gets to San Diego.
Defensively, Ludwick is a great right fielder who will likely bump Will Venable over to left field. Since 2007, his defense’s been worth +15.7 runs (that’s with a little left and center sprinkled in. At right alone, he’s been worth +12 runs). While he doesn’t have the best range, which should be interesting moving to Petco’s humongous right field**, he’s got the kind of arm you want from the most storied position in Padres history.
While I would have loved for the Padres to acquire Jayson Werth, he would be a two month rental as Werth is a free agent at the end of the year. Ludwick isn’t. Ludwick is a player that we can pencil into the four hole for the next year and a half and watch as he offers Adrian the type of lineup protection that he’s never received in his career. If Adrian wanted the team to show him they’re serious about winning, then he got his wish.
But wait, it gets better! For everything I just spelled out, the Padres gave up nothing. Were you worried about having to part with Simon Castro or Corey Luebke to improve them team? Then you’ll be glad to hear that the Padres received Ludwick in exchange for Corey Kluber*** and Nick Greenwood. If you’re asking who those guys are, my point exactly. And we’ll tell you, just not right now****. Along with Kluber and Greenwood, the team also sent some money St. Louis’ way. That’s right, us broke-ass busters sent another team money. And Ludwick’s arbitration eligible and likely to become the highest paid player on the team next year. Anyone questioning whether or not Moorad’s going to open up his pocketbook can stop asking.
If you wanted proof that the new regime is serious, here it is.
*Keep in mind that Petco makes hitters look bad, but it doesn’t make them actually bad. The Padres offense is currently ranked fourth in the NL when you take park factors into consideration, and I’d bet that you don’t believe me when I tell you that.
**Not to editorialize, but I wouldn’t be against the Padres putting Ludwick in left. With a starting trio of Ludwick-Gwynn-Venable, I’m not sure anything would fall in that outfield.
***With Luebke and Kluber, and the once rumored Corey Hart, this year’s been the Deadline of the Coreys for us.