Ryan Ludwick turned down his half of a $5 million mutual option to become a free agent, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the 34-year-old outfielder has been talking to the Reds about re-signing.
Ludwick’s agent told Fay that they’re looking for “a multi-year deal” and added that he “has offers from other clubs” if Cincinnati isn’t willing to go make that sort of commitment to a mid-30s outfielder who was pretty bad in 2011 and mediocre in both 2009 and 2010.
This year he bounced back in a big way, hitting .275 with 26 homers in 125 games for an .877 OPS that was Ludwick’s highest since 2008.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.