The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals were the prime players in a three-team trade today, getting pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland and sending outfielder Ryan Ludwick to NL West-leading San Diego.Here's to hoping Dave Duncan can help with his customary magic that he's known for.
"I'm excited to go to a club that's contending for a playoff spot and pitch in some meaningful ballgames," Westbrook said. "That's why you play the game, to get a chance to play in the playoffs and I look forward to doing that."
Westbrook was scratched from his start today in Toronto and headed for a flight to St. Louis. He said he was sad to leave Cleveland, his major league home since 2001.
"It's tough because this is all I've known other than about a week in the big leagues with the Yankees," he said.
The deal was announced about three hours before the non-waiver trading deadline.
"Any time you're trading a veteran guy at this point in the year it's a difficult thing to do," Indians assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said. "With Jake, it's even more difficult because of his contributions on the field for almost a decade or longer.
"This guy epitomizes professionalism. I'm not sure there's a classier act anywhere in baseball."[...]
A 2004 All-Star, the 32-year-old righty was 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA in 21 starts this year. He is 69-71 overall in 10 major league seasons.
While one era begins, the Ryan Ludwick era came to an end Friday night.
Shortly before games, outfielder Ryan Ludwick would get so adrenalized, so frothing to play that some other Cardinals coined a nickname for their wired teammate and his contagious energy.
They called it the "Luddy Launch."
There was no Luddy to launch Saturday even when one was needed to shake a stunned clubhouse and its subdued reaction to a three-team trade that landed a starting pitcher but cost a favored teammate. Ludwick, a former All-Star, was sent to San Diego to acquire a prospect used to get righthander Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians. A year ago, the Cardinals' clubhouse was buoyant and energized by the addition of Matt Holliday via trade.
This year, any enthusiasm was tempered by disbelief, and many players chose their words carefully, pausing sometimes to find acceptable answers. Asked if he was surprised by the deal, Chris Carpenter waited 12 seconds before responding.
"The loss of Ludwick is something that surprised me," the ace eventually said. "In turn, you have to give up something to get something. Unfortunately it was Ryan. ... I can only speak for myself and not for everybody else. It's nice to acquire a guy like Westbrook, and it's hard to lose a guy like Ludwick. There's no question."[...]
"You're always excited when the front office is trying to make moves, but today we lost a pretty key piece of our lineup from the last few years," Adam Wainwright said. "In return, we get a really, really quality starting pitcher. You have to give to get. ... We'll definitely miss Luddy. No doubt."