Done Deal: Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals, Ryan Ludwick to the Padres

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A three-way deal has gone down between the Indians, the Cardinals and the Padres.  The breakdown:

  • The Indians send starter Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals;
  • The Cardinals send outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres;
  • The Padres send prospects to the Cardinals and the Indians.  We’re not yet sure if this is all of them, but the Indians are getting AA pitcher Corey Kluber and the Cardinals are getting A-ball pitcher Nick Greenwood.

This
deal makes total sense for the Indians and Padres.  Cleveland unloads an expensive pitcher in exchange for young talent and the Padres get a much-needed bat (Ludwick is hitting .281/.343.484).  This addresses needs both clubs have.

It remains a bit of a head-scratcher for St. Louis. Yes, Westbrook — 6-7, 4.65 ERA, 1.154 WHIP — gives them a far more solid number four starter than they’ve had, so that’s good.  But still: this is a Cardinals offense that has been inconsistent all year and likely can’t afford to lose much pop.  I suppose it gives John Jay and everyday job, but the Cardinals are taking a bit of a roll of the dice on him.

The prospect heading to Cleveland — Corey Kluber — is a 24 year-old right-handed starter in AA. He strikes out more than a man per inning and seems to have pretty decent control.  He may be a find.  The fellow going to St. Louis — Nick Greenwood — is a 23 year-old lefty swingman, currently in his second go-around in high-A ball. Nice control, but nothing pops out at you.

Good deal for San Diego and Cleveland. The Cardinals? Well, they needed one bat and a starter before today. Now they need two bats.  Your mileage may vary as to whether that’s an improvement.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.