Ryan Ludwick was reportedly close to being traded to the Indians earlier this afternoon, but instead the Pirates have swooped in at the last minute to acquire the outfielder from the Padres for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
It’s tough to pass any sort of judgment on the trade without knowing the PTBNL’s identity, although the “or cash considerations” part certainly suggests it won’t be a noteworthy prospect heading San Diego’s way.
Even if the price tag was low the Pirates are betting on Ludwick turning things around following an extremely unproductive 160-game stretch with the Padres in which he hit just .228 with a .301 on-base percentage and .358 slugging percentage after being acquired from the Cardinals in the middle of last season.
In addition to Ludwick the Pirates also added another veteran right-handed hitter in Derrek Lee, who’s also struggled this year with a .246 batting average and .706 OPS in 85 games for the Orioles. So while the Pirates have brought in some experienced reinforcements for their first taste of contention in a long time, they did so without giving up any significant long-term building blocks and bet on second-half turnarounds instead.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.