Ryan Ludwick declines mutual option, becomes free agent

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Ryan Ludwick and the Reds had a $5 million mutual option for 2013, but the outfielder turned down his half today to become a free agent.

It was an easy call for Ludwick, who turned his career around after back-to-back poor seasons by hitting .275 with 26 homers and an .877 OPS in 125 games. That was his best production since 2008, when Ludwick hit .299 with 37 homers and a .966 OPS in 152 games for the Cardinals.

Both sides have said they’re interested in working out a new deal that would keep Ludwick in Cincinnati, but with the free agent market relatively short on power bats his price tag could involve a multi-year deal at age 34.