Ryan Ludwick is really happy to be a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
One reason for his happiness is that he comes from Georgetown, Ohio and grew up rooting for the Reds and Bengals. Another reason for his joy is because of where he isn’t: That hitter’s nightmare known as Petco Park.
Ludwick spoke with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Playing in San Diego screwed me up. I’m not using that as an excuse or a crutch, but it turned me into a dead pull hitter. I got away from what I was as a hitter.”
The numbers seem to back him up. Ludwick has a line of .218/.298/.361 in 91 games at Petco, substantially lower than his .261/.332/.455 career line. It remains to be seen if Ludwick will improve enough to earn substantial playing time in a crowded outfield, but he sounded confident, telling Fay, “I think it’s kind of up to me. If I play well, I’ll play a lot. If I don’t, I won’t.”
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General manager Walt Jocketty revealed last week that he’d talked to Edgar Renteria’s agent and today John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that “it’s believed that the Reds have an offer out to” the veteran shortstop.
Last month the Giants reportedly offered Renteria a one-year, $1 million deal to re-sign after winning World Series MVP honors, but after earning $10 million last season and at least $6 million every year since 2003 he took the proposed pay cut as an insult, saying:
That offer from the Giants was a lack of respect. A total disrespect. To play for a million dollars, I’d rather stay with my private business and share more time with my family. Thank god I’m well off financially and my money is well invested.
There hasn’t been much speculation surrounding Renteria since then and there’s little chance of the Reds offering him a whole lot more than $1 million considering he wouldn’t even be guaranteed to start over Paul Janish at shortstop and they have Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips locked in at third base and second base.
If he wants to keep playing at age 34, after 15 seasons, Renteria will have to take a part-time role and a significant cut in salary.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds are interested in free agent outfielder Fred Lewis for a part-time role.
Lewis was non-tendered by the Blue Jays despite a decent one-season stay in Toronto, hitting .262/.332/.414 with 17 steals in 480 plate appearances after coming over from the Giants in a mid-April trade.
He’d be unlikely to see that much playing time in Cincinnati, but the left-handed-hitting Lewis could potentially form a quasi-platoon with the right-handed-hitting Jonny Gomes in left field.
Texas has agreed to a one-year contract with Arthur Rhodes, according to Steve Phillips of AOL Fanhouse, who reports that the deal also includes a vesting option for 2012 after the veteran left-hander made his first All-Star team this year at age 41.
Rhodes was classified as a Type A free agent, but because the Reds didn’t offer him arbitration the Rangers won’t have to give up a draft pick to sign him.
He had a 2.29 ERA and 50/18 K/BB ratio in 55 innings for Cincinnati, marking Rhodes’ third straight season with an ERA below 3.00. He held left-handed hitters to a .172 batting average during that three-year span and also allowed right-handers to hit just .232 to show that he’s capable of more than left-handed specialist duties.
I’m not sure why any team would feel the need to give a multi-year contract to a 36-year-old, career-long utility infielder with a lifetime OPS under .700, but the Reds did just that by inking Miguel Cairo to a two-year deal.
In fairness Cairo is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, hitting .290/.353/.410 for his highest OPS since 2004, but that came in just 266 plate appearances and … well, it’s pretty safe to conclude it was a fluke considering he hit a combined .249 with a .298 on-base percentage and .330 slugging percentage in the previous five seasons.
He’s a useful enough spare part to have around, but he’s no longer a true utility infielder in that he hasn’t started multiple games at shortstop since 2007 and guys like Cairo are available cheaply every offseason. Re-signing him for 2011 is perfectly reasonable if the price is low enough, but committing to him for 2012 at age 38 is just weird.