UPDATE: And now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com says the Pirates, not the Indians, are “close” to acquiring Ludwick from the Padres.
Last night the Indians and Padres were said to be discussing a deal for outfielder Ryan Ludwick and now Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that the two sides are “getting close” to pulling the trigger.
Ludwick has been terrible for the Padres since they acquired him from the Cardinals in the middle of last season, hitting .228 with a .301 on-base percentage and .358 slugging percentage in 160 games, but he wouldn’t be the first power hitter to see his production plummet calling Petco Park home.
Ludwick has been only slightly better on the road since joining the Padres and may simply have declined at age 33, but he hit .280 with a .507 slugging percentage in three-plus seasons for the Cardinals and the impending free agent figures to come with modest price tag.
This would be Ludwick’s second go-around in Cleveland, as he spent 2003 to 2005 in the Indians’ farm system and played a total of 73 games for them in the majors before leaving as a minor-league free agent at age 27.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: