Recently, rumors spread that the Cardinals were interested in Jake Westbrook. Recently, other rumors spread that the Padres were interested in Ryan Ludwick. One route they could've gone would've been to make things really confusing. Another route? Make things really simple.
#Three-way deal. Padres get Ludwick. Cardis get Westbrook and prospect from SDP. Indians get prospects. Pending union OK
This is a major move - a bigger one than many figured the Padres would make. When the deal is made official, Ludwick will slide right into the Padres' everyday lineup and bump one of Tony Gwynn, Will Venable, and Scott Hairston to the bench. The 32 year old has batted .281 on the year with 11 home runs, an .827 OPS, and above-average defense in the corner outfield, and represents an upgrade for a Padres team that wanted another thumper aside from Adrian Gonzalez. Ludwick is arbitration-eligible for 2011 and should return to the Padres again next season.
As for the Cardinals, while Westbrook is a known, veteran, groundballing asset, the real intrigue is that they were willing to trade a starting bat in Ludwick in the heat of a pennant race. What this demonstrates is that St. Louis must have a lot of confidence in 25 year old rookie Jon Jay, who has exploded out of the gate with a 1.051 OPS. Ludwick would have cost the Cardinals millions of dollars the rest of the way in 2010 and more millions of dollars again in 2011, so Jay could approximate his value for a good deal less.
Westbrook will fit in behind Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Jaime Garcia, as an effective but unsexy number four starter.