Ludwick, Westbrook On The Move In Three-Team Deal

The Deal
The Cardinals and Padres, holding small leads in the NL Central and West, respectively, improved their playoff chances by involving the Indians in a three-team trade. The Cardinals acquired righthander Jake Westbrook from the Indians, while simultaneously sending right fielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. To obtain Ludwick, San Diego distributed pitching prospects to the other two clubs, sending Double-A righthander Corey Kluber to the Indians and low Class A lefty Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals.

The Indians acquire an arm they like in Kluber while also shedding Westbrook’s hefty salary commitment. He’s owed approximately $3.6 million the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals welcome Westbrook, who rounds out their rotation in fine form. Not many NL clubs can go four-deep in a playoff series like St. Louis can with Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and now Westbrook. Interestingly, three of the four starters (Wainwright is the exception) have had serious arm surgery in the recent past. Westbrook missed virtually all of the 2009 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, but his work during the past three years (see below) matches almost exactly his ’07 season, in which he helped pitch the Indians to the ALCS. That year, he went 6-9, 4.32 in 25 starts, finishing with a 1.41 WHIP, 93 strikeouts and 55 walks in 152 innings.

With an assist from Petco Park, the Padres lead the NL in run prevention, but their offensive attack has produced just 4.36 runs per game, a tick below the league average. Ludwick, paired with earlier trade acquisition Miguel Tejada, figure to help push San Diego’s offense closer to average. (To be fair, the Padres rank fifth in the NL in team OPS+, which accounts for park context.) And by trading Ludwick, their everyday right fielder, the Cardinals signal that they’re ready to hand over the reins to rookie Jon Jay, with Randy Winn functioning as supporting actor.

Indians Acquire
Corey Kluber, rhp

Age: 24.

Born: April 10, 1986 in Birmingham.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 215. Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Stetson.

Career Transactions: Selected by Padres in fourth round of 2007 draft; signed July 17, 2007.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
San Antonio (TL) AA 6 6 3.45 22 21 0 123 121 59 47 7 40 136 1.31

Kluber is a physical righty who has gotten results in the minors with an 88-92 mph tailing fastball that he locates down in the zone. He’s around the plate with his average slider and changeup, too, leading to gaudy strikeout-to-walk ratios for San Antonio this year (3.4) and for high Class A Lake Elsinore (3.4) and low Class A Fort Wayne (5.6) in the past two seasons. He leads the Texas League this season with 136 strikeouts and ranks second with 123 innings. Kluber has quality arm speed and deception courtesy of a short-arm delivery, but he lacks the command to profile as a front-line prospect. He could settle into a middle relief or spot starting role in the big leagues.

Padres Acquire
Ryan Ludwick, rf

Age: 32. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: 1 arbitration year remains (’11) prior to free agency ($5.45 million salary in ’10).

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

St. Louis (NL) 2008 .299 152 538 104 161 40 3 37 113 62 146 4 .375 .591
St. Louis (NL) 2009 .265 139 486 63 129 20 1 22 97 41 106 4 .329 .447
St. Louis (NL) 2010 .281 77 281 44 79 20 2 11 43 24 64 0 .343 .484
3-Year Totals .283 368 1305 211 369 80 6 70 253 127 316 8 .351 .514
Cardinals Acquire
Nick Greenwood, lhp

Age: 22.

Born: Sept. 28, 1987 in Southington, Conn.

Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Bats: R. Throws: L.

School: Rhode Island.

Career Transactions: Selected by Padres in 14th round of 2009 draft; signed June 16, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Fort Wayne (MWL) LoA 4 4 4.15 21 17 1 95 109 48 44 4 19 65 1.34

‘ªGreenwood ‘¬turned’ª down Division I soccer offers out of high school’¬ to pitch for Rhode Island’ª. ‘¬He’ª has had initial success as a pro, having led the Northwest League in ERA by going 4-1, 1.71 with five saves for short-season Eugene last summer. ‘¬His encore season has not gone nearly so well, though he has shown fine command with a ‘ª 65-‘¬to-‘ª19 strikeout-‘¬to-‘ªwalk ratio. ‘¬Greenwood’ª gets some sink on his 86-88 mph fastball, which touched 90 in college, and throws strikes with his fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. None of his pitches grades as an average big league pitch at present, with his changeup considered his best offering. He’ll have to hone his command and make the most of his somewhat deceptive delivery and good competitiveness to reach the majors.’¬

Jake Westbrook, rhp

Age: 32. Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $11 million salary.

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Cleveland (AL) 2008 1 2 3.12 5 5 0 35 33 13 12 5 7 19 1.15
Cleveland (AL) 2009 Pitched in minors—Injury rehab
Cleveland (AL) 2010 6 7 4.65 21 21 0 128 133 68 66 15 44 73 1.39
3-Year Totals 7 9 4.32 26 26 0 162 166 81 78 20 51 92 1.34

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