While the Padres' bullpen is well-stocked and will likely draw the interest of trade suitors, left fielder Ryan Ludwick is emerging as an intriguing trade candidate. In last month's piece If The Padres Become Sellers, Tim Dierkes noted that if Ludwick, a free agent at season's end, were to continue his then modest hot streak, he would be one of the better bats available and might yield a decent prospect in a swap.
In fact, Ludwick has pieced together decent offensive numbers (.259/.327/.406) in left field, which has been a weak offensive position in 2011, while batting in a bad lineup and residing in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Since April 20, Ludwick has posted a line of .287/.340/.456, which is closer to his career line of .266/.336/.469. He'd be a nice, if unspectacular, addition to a number of different lineups.
Here's a look at some teams that could use Ludwick:
- Braves: Martin Prado is on the DL with a staph infection, which is a serious ailment and renders his return no sure thing. In the meanwhile, Atlanta is working with Eric Hinske, Jordan Schafer and the recently reactivated Nate McLouth in left and center, with Jason Heyward obviously manning right.
- Reds: This was rumored earlier this season, though both Cincinnati and San Diego shot down the whispers. Still, the Reds have not been able to tab a starter between Chris Heisey, Jonny Gomes and Fred Lewis. As well, Reds GM Walt Jocketty is familiar with Ludwick from their time together in St. Louis.
- Mariners: Safeco Field is known to kill right-handed power, but Carlos Peguero is struggling and Greg Halman is unproven.
- Tigers: Brennan Boesch has played left and right, with Andy Dirks seeing playing time while Magglio Ordonez was on the DL. Ordonez is back but is well into a decline. Detroit could acquire Ludwick and transition Maggs into a reserve role.
- Indians: Grady Sizemore is an injury risk, and fourth outfielder Austin Kearns has struggled in limited action. The Tribe could find the at-bats for Ludwick by DH'ing him occasionally and spelling any of Sizemore, Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo, all of whom are left-handed hitters.