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.

Corey Knebel sets modern record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout

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Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.

Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.

Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.