Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds and outfielder Ryan Ludwick have agreed to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2013. He’ll be reunited with Walt Jocketty, who was the general manager during his time in St. Louis.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Ludwick will make a $2.5 million base salary with the chance for $500,000 in performance-based incentives.
Ludwick batted just .237/.310/.363 with 13 home runs, 75 RBI and a .674 OPS over 139 games between the Padres and Pirates last season. The 33-year-old hasn’t enjoyed much success since leaving St. Louis as part of the Jake Westbrook trade back in 2010, but the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark should be a nice fit for his righty bat. He’ll presumably share playing time with Chris Heisey in left field this season.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.