According to various and sundry sources, the Cardinals have completed a three-team deal with the San Diego Padre
s and Cleveland Indians
that will send Ryan Ludwick
to the Padres and bring Jake Westbrook
to the Cards.
At first blush, I really liked this deal, thought it was an excellent idea to move Ludwick now, rather than waiting for the offseason when the Cards were almost surely going to cut him loose anyhow rather than pay him as his salary continues to escalate.
Unfortunately, the more details come out about this, the less I think I like it.
It appears the Cards are receiving one prospect from the Padres, a left-handed pitcher by the name of Nicholas Greenwood
. He's currently pitching in high-A ball, at Fort Wayne, and is posting a 3.57 FIP in 95.1 innings. He looks to be a control specialist, walking just 4.7% of the hitters he's faced this season. Beyond that, I'm not going to lie to you: I have absolutely no idea who this guy is. He's 22, was drafted in 2009, and that's it.
So here's why I'm souring on this deal a bit: if the Cardinals really just traded Ryan Ludwick, one of our more solid performers this season, for Jake Westbrook, who's a #4 starter at best and actually won't save us any money, either, then I think everyone out there has a right to be pissed. I don't know, maybe Cleveland is picking up a big chunk of Westbrook's salary, but I kind of doubt it. The Indians are actively trying to clear up payroll and space as they attempt yet another remake of their team; paying Jake Westbrook to go elsewhere doesn't seem to fit that direction.
The one thing I do like here is John Mozeliak has managed to clear up the logjam in the outfield a bit; both Allen Craig and Jon Jay should have places on this team now, and enough at-bats to make it worth their while. A platoon of those two guys shouldn't be an absolute sinkhole compared to what Ludwick has done, but I'm still not sure that's enough to justify this deal.
When I heard this was going down, I was cautiously optimistic Johnny Mo had made a really smart, if difficult, move. Unless there's something going on here I'm not seeing, though, I think he may have just made the team worse, not better. I'll do my very best to withhold judgement until the smoke clears a bit, though. I suggest we all try to do that.