Ryan Ludwick Rumors
As the Cardinals continue to battle the Giants in the NLCS, here's the latest from the NL Central...
- The Reds probably won't be able to afford Ryan Ludwick if he insists on "market value" for veteran corner outfielders, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. That's probably true if Ludwick looks for the deals that Josh Willingham, Jason Kubel or Michael Cuddyer (Fay's comparables) received last winter, but Willingham and Cuddyer were the oldest of the trio, going into their age-33 seasons. Ludwick turns 35 in July, so a three-year deal seems far-fetched to me.
- The Brewers announced they have purchased the contract of right-hander Jesus Sanchez and added him to their 40-man roster. The 25-year-old Sanchez posted a combined 1.63 ERA in 52 relief appearances at the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season, plus a 2.91 K/BB ratio and 64 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings.
- The Astros won't have their coaching staff finalized for a week or two, GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Only one or two members of the current Astros' staff is under consideration to return under new manager Bo Porter. Bench coach Joe Pettini will not be back, reports McTaggart (Twitter link).
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick will turn down his side of the $5MM mutual option on his contract with the Reds, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. However, the Reds will discuss a new deal with Ludwick in the hopes of keeping him in Cincinnati. Both sides are “very interested” and Ludwick would like a multiyear deal, Heyman reports.
Ludwick, 34, just completed his best season in years. He hit 26 home runs and posted a .275/.346/.531 batting line in 472 plate appearances as the Reds' left fielder. The one-year contract he signed with Cincinnati in February includes a $5MM mutual option for 2013 ($500K buyout).
The Reds clinched a postseason spot with today's 5-3 victory over the Cubs. Cincinnati will return to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons and the team's magic number to clinch the NL Central stands at just two. Here's the latest from the Queen City...
- "I've told numerous people I like it here," Ryan Ludwick told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "I'm definitely going to do everything in my ability on my side to stay here. I know it's a business and budgets become factors in an organization. I'm really hoping everything works out." Ludwick signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Reds in January that contains a $5MM mutual option for 2013, with a $500K buyout. The outfielder has enjoyed a big comeback season, hitting .276/.349/.532 with 26 homers in 460 plate appearances entering today's action, so it's a pretty good bet that the Reds will exercise their end of Ludwick's option.
- Dusty Baker will be at Great American Ballpark on Friday for the Reds' game with the Dodgers, though it isn't clear if Baker will resume his duties as manager, GM Walt Jocketty told media (including Sheldon). Baker is in hospital in Chicago undergoing tests for an irregular heartbeat, and Jocketty said his manager was feeling good when he visited him on Thursday morning.
- Bench coach Chris Speier has been managing the Reds in Baker's absence and Speier told reporters (including Sheldon) that he hopes to at least receive an interview for a managerial opening this winter. "I think everybody in baseball understands that I would love to have the opportunity to at least go through the interview process and be part of that," Speier said. "That's never been a secret. I don't put myself out there. People know what I've done and what I am capable of doing. The reputation that I hopefully have around is one that if it's warranted for an opportunity, that I will get that."
The Reds have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to a one-year deal that includes a mutual option for 2013, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Ludwick gets a $2.5MM guarantee and could earn another $500K in incentives, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Ludwick, who played for Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty in St. Louis.
Ludwick, who can play left and right field, gives the Reds some much-needed outfield depth. Like left fielder Chris Heisey, Ludwick is a right-handed hitter. However, Ludwick has hit right-handers (.804 OPS) better than left-handers (.751 OPS) in his nine-year career.
Ludwick, 33, posted a .237/.310/.363 line with 13 homers for the Padres and Pirates in 2011. His batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all dropped for the third consecutive season. However, UZR/150 suggests Ludwick has played average defense in the outfield corners in recent years.
On this date in 1986, the Mets and Twins completed a five-player trade involving former first rounder Billy Beane. Now the Athletics’ GM, Beane completed a trade today, obtaining Seth Smith from Colorado for Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman. Here are the latest Athletics-related links...
- Beane says the Athletics are still looking for right-handed hitting outfielder depth, Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group tweets. Michael Taylor will have to play his way into the picture, according to Stiglich.
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the A's are pursuing a Jonny Gomes/Ryan Ludwick type for depth. The A's haven't ruled out Johnny Damon, Shea tweets.
- Outman told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the trade was "bittersweet," but that he's "not mad by any means," Pitching so far above sea level will be an adjustment for the fly ball pitcher, however.
- Moscoso told Slusser that he's "in shock," although he's looking forward to the opportunity in Colorado.
Thursday night linkage..
- Mark Bowman of MLB.com believes that both Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens will be with the Braves at the start of the season.
- The Nationals are still talking with Rick Ankiel, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. If he returns, it would be in a platoon/fourth outfielder role, with a chance to earn more playing time.
- As a fan, losing shortsop Jose Reyes to the Marlins was difficult for Mets owner Fred Wilpon, writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal.
- Rangers president Nolan Ryan told reporters that he expects the club to sign Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish by the 3pm Wednesday deadline, writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. Ryan also believes that the negotiations will go down to the wire.
- Both Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel remain possibilities for the Reds, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Walt Jocketty is familiar with both outfielders from his time in St. Louis.
- A person familiar with the Yankees' thinking told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger that "January brings shifts" and it's possible that the club will add to their payroll in order to satisfy their pitching need. The Bombers are still in contact with Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt and are considering Edwin Jackson.
- From a negotiation standpoint, it doesn't make sense for Yoenis Cespedes to play in the Dominican Winter League, opines Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Right-hander Brian Gordon, whose rights were sold by the Yankees to the SK Wyverns of the Korean Professional League over the summer, will remain with in the KBL after signing with the Samsung Lions, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.
Let's jump into the weekend with one last batch of news items....
- Arthur Rhodes is close to deciding where he will play in 2012, reports Anthony Andro of Fox Sports Southwest (Twitter link). Rhodes also confirms that he will play next year, making it 21 Major League seasons for the 42-year-old southpaw. The Cardinals and Mariners have both shown interest in Rhodes this offseason.
- Some teams aren't convinced that Hiroki Kuroda will pitch in the majors next season and will instead return to Japan, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Kuroda's asking price is reportedly $13-$14MM on a one-year deal, which is a slight increase from last month.
- Also from Heyman (via Twitter), Ryan Ludwick has received offers from at least four teams. The Reds, A's and Giants have been linked to Ludwick this winter, though it's unknown if any of those clubs actually offered the outfielder a contract.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune covers such Padres topics as a possible Carlos Quentin extension, the team's lack of interest in Eric Chavez and the Friars' plans for the newly-acquired Andrew Cashner in his weekly online chat with fans.
- The Tigers appear to be satisfied with Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn as their second base platoon, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says his team is looking for at least two "low-cost" starting pitchers to compete for the back end of the Boston rotation next year, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. As Cafardo notes, this would seemingly take the Red Sox out of the running for more expensive free agent pitchers like Kuroda, Edwin Jackson or Joe Saunders. We heard earlier today that the Sox were among several teams interested in Paul Maholm.
The Reds are looking for depth in left field, and though they maintain some interest in Cody Ross, they haven’t had discussions about Johnny Damon, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. GM Walt Jocketty acknowledged interest in Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The agent for Kosuke Fukudome called the team as well.
Left fielder Chris Heisey hit 18 homers and posted a .797 OPS in 2011, but the Reds have just four outfielders on their 40-man roster and will likely add depth before Opening Day. They traded outfield options Yonder Alonso and Dave Sappelt in recent deals for pitching.
The Athletics recently committed $14MM to retain center fielder Coco Crisp, but they'll continue to talk to free agent outfielders such as Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, and Conor Jackson, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland's corner outfield depth chart currently features Josh Reddick, Collin Cowgill, and Michael Taylor after losing Josh Willingham and David DeJesus to free agency and trading Jai Miller and Ryan Sweeney.
Ludwick, 33, shouldn't cost much after a .237/.310/.363 performance in 2011. Jackson had a similar line. Ross was somewhat more useful at .240/.325/.405. His asking price appears to have come down to the two-year, $10MM range. Other unsigned outfielders include Rick Ankiel, Johnny Damon, J.D. Drew, Kosuke Fukudome, Scott Hairston, Brad Hawpe, Raul Ibanez, Magglio Ordonez, Luke Scott, and Ryan Spilborghs.
ESPN's Buster Olney writes today that some executives believe $40MM is the unofficial budget floor MLB and the union would like to see from teams. As such, the Crisp signing may allow the A's to avoid a slap on the wrist. Including projected salaries for Crisp, Brandon McCarthy, and Joey Devine, the A's appear to have about $33MM in commitments to 11 players.
2:29pm: An announcement from Crisp's new team should come today or tomorrow, Comte tells Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group. Comte ruled out the Cubs, while Stiglich gets the impression Crisp could return to the A's.
MONDAY, 8:55pm: The Orioles have been talking to Crisp in recent days and they’re interested in signing him, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. However, it hasn’t been confirmed that the Orioles are the mystery team.
"Basically, we just have to let that team know," Comte told Slusser.
The Athletics want to re-sign Crisp, according to Slusser. They’ve been in touch with him all offseason, but 12-13 other teams have discussed Crisp with Comte. The A’s have also spoken to free agent Ryan Ludwick, according to Slusser. Oakland selected Ludwick in the second round of the 1999 draft and traded him to the Rangers three years later.
The switch-hitting Crisp led the American League with 49 stolen bases in 2011, hitting .264/.314/.379 with 27 doubles as Oakland's center fielder. The California native seems to prefer West Coast teams, but explained in September that he’s also looking to play on a winner and find a good "financial situation" for himself.