Red Sox Rumors: Ryan Ludwick
The Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in a right-handed hitting right fielder and while Ludwick hasn’t played right field this year, he has played right field in over sixty percent of his career games. From the Padres perspective, it only makes since to trade Ludwick. The Padres haven’t been able to capture last year’s magic and are currently last in the N.L. West.
Ludwick will be a free agent at the end of the 2011 season and is scheduled to make $6,775,000 this season. Ludwick is the second highest paid player on the Padres behind closer Heath Bell ($7,500,000) who will also most likely be traded before the deadline.
As of right now, the Red Sox have five outfielders on their active roster: Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Darnell McDonald, and Josh Reddick. If Boston did acquire Ludwick, McDonald would probably be the odd man out. However, Reddick could be sent down in order to get more playing time.
McDonald isn’t the same player that we saw last year. In 2010 he had an average of .270 with thirty-four RBI in 117 games. This year, in forty games, McDonald is batting just .160 with thirteen RBI. On the other side, Reddick batted .194 with just five RBI in sixty-two plate appearances last year. Yet, this year, Reddick is batting .347 with eighteen RBI in seventy-five plate appearances. Reddick is twenty-four, still developing, and has a bright future, while McDonald is thirty-two with dimmer future. Since neither Reddick or McDonald would start unless an injury, Reddick could get sent down to AAA in order to get more playing time, as previously noted.
Reddick is the one thing that makes this deal less likely. If Reddick continues at his hot pace, Boston doesn’t need to make a trade for an outfielder. However, unlike Ludwick, Reddick is a lefty and not a righty when it comes to hitting.
If the Red Sox were to acquire Ludwick, you might think the Red Sox would platoon Drew and Ludwick. They could start Drew against righties since Drew is a lefty and Ludwick against lefties since Ludwick is a righty. However, against righties, Ludwick is batting .002 points higher than Drew, slugging .061 points higher than Drew, and has an OPS .032 points higher than Drew.
Also and obviously, both players are past their prime. Drew (thirty-five years old) peaked back in 2004 as a member of the Atlanta Braves and Ludwick (thirty-three years old) peaked back in 2008 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
So far this season, Ludwick is batting .241, with fifty-seven RBI, eleven home runs, and seventy-nine strikeouts in 345 plate appearances. Drew, on the other hand, is batting .223, with twenty-two RBI, four home runs, and fifty-six strikeouts in 233 plate appearances. I think it is safe to say that Drew will not be resigning with the Red Sox when his five-year, $70 million dollar contract expires at the end of the season.
It has been a decent run, J.D. and while you’ve given Red Sox Nation some good memories (a grand slam in game six of the 2007 ALCS), it is time to either call it quits or step aside and let someone else, patrol right field at Fenway Park. Wether that person is Reddick, Ludwick, or someone else, someone besides Drew needs to start in right.