Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that the Pirates have acquired Ryan Ludwick from the Padres for a player to be named later. Ludwick’s having a rough year in San Diego, but I think it’s a safe bet that he at least adds some depth to an injury ravaged outfield for now and can, at the very least, be a little more power-happy version of Matt Diaz.
Ludwick’s 32 and he’s done almost nothing since being moved from St. Louis to San Diego at last year’s deadline. In about a full season’s worth of games, he’s hitting .228/.301/.358. It’s true that Petco Park in San Diego is rough on hitters, but it’s much tougher on lefties than righties. Still, it’s a tough park to hit in and moving away from the pitcher-friendly parks in San Diego, LA, and San Francisco should help him out at least a little bit, even if PNC is tough on righties in its own right. I do want to say, though, that Ludwick’s road splits shouldn’t be used as proof that he can’t hit. Players almost universally perform better at home than they do on the road. Remember when Matt Holliday was being dealt out of Colorado and people thought that he’d never hit outside of Coors Field because of his poor numbers on the road? Moving out of Petco should help Ludwick a bit, and that’s what matters the most.
It’s also worth noting that Ludwick isn’t really an everyday player the way San Diego has been using him, but if he’s used in the Matt Diaz role he’ll almost definitely be an upgrade over Diaz. He’s still got the ability to hit some home runs, which Diaz no longer has, and his numbers against lefties this year are .264/.320/.407, which again, aren’t great but are acceptable in the reduced-run environment of 2011.
Ludwick is not an exciting acquisition. He’s not the player he was when he played for the Cardinals. But he does give the Pirates a bit more depth and if he’s used properly, I think he could strengthen the platoon lineup against lefties quite a bit. He plays good defense, he’s getting out of Petco, and it doesn’t seem like the Pirates gave up a whole lot to get him. Obviously I’d rather have someone like Jason Kubel, but it doesn’t seem like that was an option for the Pirates. Ludwick should make the Pirates a little bit deeper, at least until Tabata and Presley come back, and by extenstion a little bit better for the stretch run.