When Ryan Ludwick scored the winning run in Friday night’s 10-inning game against the Pirates, he didn’t know that would be the last mark he’d leave in a Cardinals uniform.
When it was announced at 11:51 a.m. that the Cardinals, Indians, and Padres had completed a three-way deal that would send Jake Westbrook (6-7, 4.65 ERA) to the Cardinals, Ludwick to the Padres, and prospects to the Indians, that was exactly the case.
The deal for Westbrook was in the works nearly all week, but trading Ludwick came as a surprise to many fans and even Ludwick himself.
As of 11:00 a.m. CT, Ludwick hadn't heard anything regarding a trade .
Now that the deal is done, it’s hard to see how this deal benefits the Cardinals. Sure, they get a quality starter who gives the rotation solid depth, but they also trade away a guy who can hit in the No. 2, 4, or 5 spot in the lineup. He provides solid protection and production for a struggling offense.
The Cardinals have had scoring droughts of 20 and 18 innings this season and are 17th in the league in RBIs.
Although the pitching depth is certainly a key for the playoffs, the Cardinals may have a tough time getting past Cincinnati without a lineup that can produce runs. They traded Ludwick’s .281 batting average, 11 home runs, and 43 RBIs. He will most likely be handing the position to upstart Jon Jay.
While Jay has been spectacular lately with .396 average this season with three home runs and 12 RBIs to go along with a .447 on-base percentage, his numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. His sample size of just 48 games and 111 at-bats is just too small for anyone to “expect” production right away.
That doesn’t mean he can’t become a great player, it’s just a lot of pressure to ask of someone like Jay to fill in full time for a guy like Ludwick who had been a staple in the middle of the lineup for several years.
The Official Trade
Cardinals get: Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook and Padres prospect LHP Nick Greenwood (4-4, 4.15 ERA at Triple-A Fort Wayne)
Padres get: Outfielder Ryan Ludwick
Indians get: Padres prospect Corey Kluber (6-6, 3.45 ERA at Double-A San Antonio)
This article was originally published at RedbirdReport.com