The Cardinals, Indians and Padres consummated a three-team deal this afternoon. San Diego shored up their offense adding Ryan Ludwick. The Cardinals picked up Jake Westbrook and Padres pitching prospect Nick Greenwood as well as cash. The Indians will get Padres prospect Corey Kluber.
The Padres add Ludwick's .281/.343/.484. batting line as they push to stay atop the NL West. He'll take over in right field and hit right behind Adrian Gonzalez and ahead of Chase Headley in the Padres lineup. Ludwick had a breakout season in 2008 his first full year with the Cardinals. He's never replicated the great numbers of that year, but has provided plenty of production behind Albert Pujols in the Cardinals lineup.
Ludwick became somewhat expendable in St. Louis with the play of Jon Jay who will take over right field. While Jay cannot sustain his .396/.447/.604 batting line, St. Louis gains a starting pitcher to move Jeff Suppan out of the rotation (and possibly off the roster). With the money they receive from the Padres, they cover some of the salary differential between Ludwick and Westbrook.
Westbrook is coming off a pair of injury plagued seasons. He's chewed up innings for Cleveland, but has been mostly average in the process. His peripheral numbers are at or below average, but may improve in the National League. His 6-7 record and 4.65 ERA will slot in after Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia.
In addition, they pick up Greenwood, who is in his first full season of minor-league ball and has made 17 starts for single A Fort Wayne in the Midwest League. He has split eight decisions with a 4.15 ERA in 95.1 innings pitched. His peripherals are middling, though the low home run rate and solid walk rate offer hope that he can blossom into a serviceable back of the rotation starter.
Kluber was also not among the notable Padres minor leaguers as ranked and rated by the prospect watchers this spring. But has had a solid season for the San Antonio Missions. He leads AA Texas League in strikeouts per 9 IP (9.98 K/9 IP). With 30 starts between this year and last at AA, the Indians may be aggeressive and see what their new 24 year old righty can do at AAA Columbus.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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