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Ryan Ludwick Rumors
Tomorrow night (11pm CT) is the deadline for teams to tender or non-tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR has previously identified a list of non-tender candidates as well as provided projected salaries for each arbitration eligible player of the offseason (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In addition to those resources, you can follow along and keep track of players using our 2015 Non-Tender Tracker. We’ll cover some more of the specifics on non-tendering and arbitration tomorrow (though those who are new to the concept can check out last year’s post on explaining non-tenders), but for the time being, here are some news and notes from a few borderline cases around the league…
- The Cubs are expected to tender a contract to lefty Travis Wood despite the fact that is coming off a down season, reports ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers. Wood, projected to earn $5.5MM in 2015, posted a 5.03 ERA in 173 2/3 innings. His command regressed (3.9 BB/9) but he did also see an uptick in strikeouts (7.6 K/9). Rogers notes that Wood could still be traded, as the Cubs did bring back a lefty to slot into the rotation in the form of Tsuyoshi Wada. Chicago is expected to pursue multiple starters on the free agent and trade markets this winter, so if they add enough in the way of upgrades, a team may be interested in taking on Wood at a reasonable price.
- The Angels will tender David Freese and pay him something in the range of his $6.3MM projection but are expected to non-tender Gordon Beckham, Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times writes. However, the Halos will have interest in bringing Beckham back in a utility role on a smaller deal than the $5MM he is projected to earn. Of course, Beckham will be a free agent and can field offers from other clubs, and it’s perfectly possible that in a market that’s light on infielders, another club would offer either a larger guarantee or a starting role.
- Ruben Tejada ($1.7MM projection) is expected to be tendered a contract by the Mets, but Eric Young Jr. could be cut loose, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin. The Mets feel they can replicate Young’s production at a lower rate than his projected $2.3MM salary, but replacing Tejada may cost more than his modest projection. Rubin notes that the Mets feel Kirk Nieuewnhuis can be a serviceable fifth outfielder at a fraction of Young’s price. As for a fourth outfielder, they’ll look for a righty bat like Jonny Gomes or Ryan Ludwick. Presumably, either of them could handle left field versus lefty starters, with Michael Cuddyer shifting to first base to shield Lucas Duda from lefties.
The Indians should be poised to contend for the AL Central title next year because the Tigers and Royals are going to take a hit in free agency, opines Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group in the latest edition of his “Hey, Hoynsie” column. Free agency won’t damage the White Sox, Hoynes adds, but they are in need of pitching to complement their power while the Twins are still putting together the pieces after four consecutive seasons of at least 92 losses.
Here’s more on the Indians from Hoynes:
- Manager Terry Francona had clauses inserted into his contract when he was hired by the Indians allowing him to leave if President Mark Shapiro or GM Chris Antonetti are fired. Would Francona ever follow Joe Maddon’s lead? Hoynes notes Andrew Friedman left the Rays voluntarily and isn’t sure whether such a departure by either Shapiro or Antonetti would trigger Francona’s opt-out.
- The Indians will not be bidding on the premier bats available in free agency (e.g. Pablo Sandoval (#5 on MLBTR’s 2014-2015 Top 50 Free Agents list), Victor Martinez (#6), Russell Martin (#8), and Nelson Cruz (#9), according to Hoynes, who sees the club setting their sights on the likes of Michael Morse (#28) and Ryan Ludwick (unranked) once other moves are made.
- Jose Ramirez will be the Indians’ 2015 Opening Day shortstop, Francisco Lindor is probably ticketed for Triple-A, and Zach Walters, acquired in the Asdrubal Cabrera trade, will have to make the team as a bench player.
- The Indians are not in the position of needing to trade their core players, so Hoynes would be surprised if Corey Kluber, Yan Gomes, or Michael Brantley are dealt this winter.
The Reds are telling teams that outfielder Ryan Ludwick is available in trade, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Ludwick, 36, is playing on a $7.5MM salary this year and comes with a $9MM mutual option next year (with an onerous $4.5MM buyout).
Playing in left field for Cincinnati, Ludwick owns a .261/.325/.392 line on the year, his 12th as a big leaguer. He has hit only six home runs, falling well off the pace he set in 2012, when he swatted 26 long balls and slashed a robust .275/.346/.531. An injury-riddled, disappointing 2013 intervened, and Ludwick has not returned to the form that earned him his present contract.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick injured his right shoulder in the Reds' season opener and will need surgery. The Reds could promote Derrick Robinson or Denis Phipps to take Ludwick's place on the roster, Jon Fay of Cincinnati.com writes. Chris Heisey will take the bulk of Ludwick's playing time in left, so that makes an option like prospect Donald Lutz somewhat unlikely, since the Reds might prefer that he play every day. The Reds appear to have enough depth to avoid pursuing an option from outside the organization. Ludwick re-signed with the Reds for two years and $15MM in December. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- Pitcher Shaun Marcum is on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, and the Mets will need to add another starting pitcher, ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin contends (on Twitter). Chris Young, who pitched 115 innings for the Mets in 2012, is a free agent after being released by the Nationals, but the Mets did not appear interested (Twitter link) in Young several days ago, and as yet there have been no indications that Marcum's injury changes their stance.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers guarantees his team will win at least 90 games, Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com reports. "In 2011, I put down 85 and we won 94. Last year, I had 89 (wins) and we won 81," Towers says. "But I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve got a pretty good idea. I guarantee it’s going to start with a nine." The Diamondbacks are coming off an offseason filled with what Bickley calls "debatable, combustible maneuvers," including the trades of Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer.
The Dodgers received an epic performance from their young ace today, as Clayton Kershaw hit his first career home run for what turned out to be the game-winning run. Oh, and he also tossed a complete-game, 4-hit, 94-pitch shutout. Will L.A. regret not completing an extension over the spring if the lefty sticks with his stated intention not to negotiate during the season?
- Shortstop Justin Sellers went from darkhorse roster candidate to Opening Day starter, and now figures to see a lot of action, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Manager Don Mattingly seems inclined to prioritize defense at short until Hanley Ramirez returns: "We want to be able to catch it. And we're willing to sacrifice offense to do it."
- In spite of their massive payroll, the Dodgers will be relying on several "unheralded" players in addition to Sellers, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Luis Cruz, Mark Ellis, and A.J. Ellis all occupy key positions on the field and in the locker room, even if they aren't in line for the lion's share of the team's salary and press.
- The Reds' Opening Day lineup reveals the club's roster stability, writes David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News. Of today's starters, only third baseman Todd Frazier and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo were not penciled into the lineup card this time last year.
- Unfortunately for the Reds, the club already needs to replace one of those returning starters for some time. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick suffered a dislocated right shoulder during today's game, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Ludwick re-signed with Cincinnati this past offseason, agreeing to a two-year, $15MM deal (with a mutual option for 2015) after a strong 2012 campaign. Chris Heisey replaced Ludwick after the injury. While Heisey went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, he did make this nice grab and prevented a go-ahead, inside-the-park home run for Peter Bourjos by backing up the center fielder Choo.
- The Orioles are deeper this year than last, and Executive VP of Operations Dan Duquette feels his rotation in particular is deep enough that the team "could probably make a trade," writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. As he now heads a "more established club," Duquette aims "to create some urgency for today" while also working to ensure "a steady stream of players coming up through the Minors."
The Reds' Ryan Ludwick enjoyed a bounceback year in 2012, posting a .275/.346/.531 batting line with 26 home runs in 472 plate appearances. The outfielder spoke to MLBTR about his relationship with the Beverly Hills Sports Council and why he chose them.
How did you first come into contact with Dan Horwits and the Beverly Hills Sports Council?
I think I was a little bit of a unique situation in that my brother [Eric Ludwick] was represented by them and I got to know Danny through my brother while I was in high school, but I wasn't highly recruited out of high school. A lot of teams wanted me to pitch, like my brother, but I didn't want to. I didn't have representation then but as time went on through high school and college at UNLV, I built a relationship with Danny before he was even really my agent, more as a family friend. It was a pretty easy decision when it came time.
Were there other agencies hoping to represent you before you signed on with BHSC? Why did you choose BSHC over them?
I did get recruited by other agents in the game and I listened to a couple of them and I let them come into the house and talk about how they were better than other guys. But, for me, the decision had already been made.
Besides contract negotiations, what else does BHSC do for you that you value?
Just about everything. I know the social media thing is really big right now but I'm a pretty Plain Jane type of dude. I don't have a Twitter or a Facebook account but I know a lot of players in the agency that have them help out with a lot of stuff like that. For me, they help with basic stuff like taxes, card deals, equipment, getting your Nike deal or your Wilson deal set up, and you get a little bit of perks too. I'll call Danny and he'll get concert tickets or dinner reservations…Me and the wife and some friends on New Year's we went down to the Florida keys and they'll even help out with that stuff. Anything under the sun, they'll help out with. The good thing about Danny is, I was at his wedding and I've known him forever and he's really like a big brother to me. I know I can call him about anything and I can ask him for everything and I think I've paid him back, so I think we're good.
From what you've seen, how common or uncommon is it for a player to have that type of relationship with his agent?
Everyone is different. Everyone's goals or mindset is different. I think with some guys, whether that's an agent or player, you get egos that are all about the money. I'm not trying to be rude or inconsiderate but I think that happens in everyday life, whether you're an agent or a lawyer or a doctor, a car salesman, whatever that might be, I think some people are about money and some are about happiness and friendships and enjoying what they're doing. For me, the friendship aspect was more important for me. But, that being said, I also knew that [BHSC], they're very good at what they do. There are a lot of guys out there, and I know [MLBTradeRumors] is doing a lot of agencies in this series, but they're in the top percentile of agencies out there.
When you look at Danny Horwits' record in arbitration, it's pretty good, I don't think he's ever lost. We settled outside of hearings every time and each and every time we got what we wanted. He's very good at that and I'm really really thankful that he's on our side in that respect.
You spent parts of nine seasons in the minors with five organizations due to injuries and trades before finally breaking through in 2007 with St. Louis. How did BHSC help you through those tough times?
It's a pretty lengthy story with Danny and I. Not even after my first full season in pro ball, I was drafted in '99 and in 2000 for the first half of the season I was in High-A ball in Modesto and I was hitting .200 with, I think, four home runs at the break and I remember calling my future wife up and my brother and my mom and Danny up and being like, "I'm done." I didn't even have a full year under my belt yet but I had never failed before and I felt like I was failing tremendously. Looking back on it, I've done that numerous times now, but that first time he told me to take a deep breath and that I'll be alright…He reminded me that a lot of people struggle when they get to pro ball and Danny has always been there behind me, whether it be then to when I eventually caught fire to my injuries.
I've had a lot of injuries as well, some people don't know about. I have an eight inch titanium rod in my hip, a six inch titanium rod in my ulna, I've had two knee surgeries, I've had a GI bleed which is a pretty bad ulcer where I had like five holes in my stomach from all the anti-inflammatories I was taking trying to get better from all the surgeries…There have been numerous times where I could have given up and Danny was there for me.
Have you ever recommended Dan to a player looking for representation or thinking about changing representation?
It's funny, he doesn't ever ask me to do that. I know he's asked other guys to do that when they have their eyes on a certain guy who may or may not have certain representation. But he really hasn't asked me to do that too much. There are guys that I've gone up to on my own and I ask what they're thinking. I always tell them that I'm very happy with my representation at the Sports Council and I tell them that it's a strong way to go. But he's never harped on me to recruit other players.
After a strong 2012, you turned down your side of a $5MM mutual option. Were you anxious to get your contract hammered out over the offseason and how often did you find yourself checking in with your agent as talks progressed this winter?
I called him quite frequently and he called me quite frequently. I think the important thing is that whenever I called, he's there. Danny is always there and he always got back to me promptly. Going through the arbitration process three times and then into the free agency process, I didn't want to believe him at times. Every step of the way there were times that I didn't trust his opinion, but in all three arbitration cases he was 100% correct and every time I got panicky in the season about free agency he was always correct. Like I said, he's always given me good advice and he's always right. I've been with him since '99 and I really don't have any gripes. I mean, I wish he could have gotten me an everyday big league job a little bit sooner but that's probably my fault, not his.
Were you at at all hesitant about turning down the option for 2013?
Not at all. I knew right away, we both knew right away, that we were going to go after a multi-year deal. I had never had one before. There were times in St. Louis where I played well early in my career that I thought St. Louis might let me have some security and play there. Then I went to San Diego and I had that awful year that got in my dome and mentally I just wasn't right. I went into free agency after that season, after being with San Diego and getting traded to Pittsburgh, thinking it was going to be a great thing.
It ended up being a thing where I only had four or five teams interested and I took a huge pay cut from the season before and I thought, "Hey man, I'm finally going to get my three year deal," and I only got a one year deal. I went to Cincinnati last year and Danny said, "You know, if you're unhappy with what you've got going, you've got no one to blame but yourself. If you're unhappy, you have to go out there and use Cincinnati to your advantage."
Cincinnati was a place I wanted to go but we were talking to other teams. Danny agreed with me, he said that we had to listen to other teams but that Cincinnati was the best fit. For one, it's a completely different ballpark from San Diego, it's a lot more hitter friendly. And for me, it was my favorite team growing up, Eric Davis was my favorite player, it's where my mom and dad were born and raised, and it just kind of struck home. It was a good feeling and he said that I should use it to my advantage to get back to where I was. I think after last year's season I proved to other people and Danny that I can still hit a little bit. And you know, Walt [Jocketty], Danny, and I got together and I let it be known to Walt that I wanted to stay there and that I was very happy with the situation I was in. Danny and him got the deal hammered out and I'm very thankful to be where I'm at.
The Reds announced that they signed free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2015 (Twitter link). The BHSC client obtains a $15MM guarantee following his best offensive season since he was a member of the Cardinals.
The Reds made the free agent outfielder a two-year two-year offer earlier in the week, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that at least one other club was being more aggressive on Ludwick. The 34-year-old posted a .275/.346/.531 batting line with 26 home runs in 472 plate appearances for the Reds this past season, a marked improvement from 2010-11 when he didn't hit more than 17 home runs or post an OPS above .750.
Ludwick ranked 26th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents with MLBTR's Tim Dierkes correctly predicting that he would re-sign with the Reds.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported the agreement and the dollar amount. Fay first reported the option year and that the Reds were making progress toward a deal. Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
The Reds have a two-year offer on the table to the free agent outfielder. Fay reported yesterday that Ludwick could get as much as $3MM more over two years elsewhere. Ludwick, 34, posted a .275/.346/.531 batting line with 26 home runs in 472 plate appearances for the Reds this past season.
The Reds' two-year offer to left fielder Ryan Ludwick remains on the table, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. According to GM Walt Jocketty, "The agent said he spoke to Ryan last night and he’s still contemplating some things I guess." Ludwick could get as much as $3MM more over two years elsewhere, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, which explains why he's taking his time.
Ludwick, 34, bounced back from a rough 2011 to hit .275/.346/.531 with 26 home runs in 472 plate appearances for the Reds this year. Of the remaining free agents, only A.J. Pierzynski and Adam LaRoche hit more home runs in 2012.
WEDNESDAY, 4:25pm: The Reds are "still a little ways apart" with Ludwick, GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
9:59pm: Ludwick remains in discussions with the Reds and others, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
9:32pm: Ludwick and the Reds are getting close on a deal, hears Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
MONDAY, 5:01pm: The Reds have an offer out to free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick, manager Dusty Baker tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters he's optimistic, and he'll meet with Ludwick's agent tomorrow morning. A signing is possible this week.
Meanwhile, the Mets have interest in the 34-year-old, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Jocketty also cleared up rumors about the Reds' interest in Dexter Fowler and Coco Crisp, telling reporters, "We really haven’t talked to either club if that’s any indication. I’m not sure Colorado is moving Fowler." Jocketty said the Rockies have not brought up Homer Bailey's name to him, either.