2012 Reds

Ryan Ludwick? UPDATE: It’s official

Good grief, I hope this turns out to be a false alarm, but…

Ken Rosenthal is tweeting that the Reds have agreed with left fielder Ryan Ludwick on a one-year deal, with a mutual option for 2013.

I guess it could be worse, but friends and neighbors, Ryan Ludwick isn’t as good as you think he is. Likely to be below average in 2012.

No reason to get upset about it; I think Chris Heisey is likely to be better in 2012, but the difference isn’t going to be huge. I just think it was an unnecessary signing…and I think people remember the Ludwick of age 29, not the current age 33 version. Not the same player.

UPDATE: One year for $2.5 million, according to reports.

UPDATE 2: Chris Heisey, age 26: 113 OPS+
Ryan Ludwick, age 32, 90 OPS+

Only way I really like this deal is if Ludwick is really just a glorified fourth outfielder on this team.

UPDATE 3: File this under “It could be worse”: Best thing about Ryan Ludwick is that he doesn’t spell his name “J-u-a-n P-i-e-r-r-e” or “R-i-c-k A-n-k-i-e-l.”

79 thoughts on “Ryan Ludwick? UPDATE: It’s official

  1. I’m ok with the signing if it’s clear that Ludwick, barring a very down year from Heisey, has been signed as OF depth and as a guy with a little pop off the bench that you could bring in as a PH late in the game. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have pocketed the money and seen what Frazier and Francisco might do as 4th OF but as neither is really an OF, that is a bit of an unknown. There is also the fact that young, inexperienced players often struggle on the bench or their development is hindered due to them being on the bench. That’s a whole different discussion though so let’s stick to Ludwick and what he brings.

    So what about Ludwick? Well how about some projections:
    I’m going to go with what some call a “slash-line” which is pretty basic, along with AB and HR projections. A slash-line is AVG/OBP/SLG

    Bill James projects: .249/.325/.426 15HR and 101K over 385AB. I’d take a .751 OPS out of Ludwick as a 4th OF with below-average corner OF defense (based on statistics and ‘the eye test’) but it isn’t really desireable for a starting OF. James’ projection is also pretty optimistic considering his 2011 actuals of .237/.310/.363. Even his 2010 wasn’t as good as James’ 2012 projections. His slash-line in 2010 was .251/.325/.418, very close to James’ 2012 projection.

    The only other projection I have for Ludwick is RotoChamp. They aren’t my favorite (I really like ZiPS and Bill James). That said, their projections are: .242/.320/.387

    Looking at some other numbers from Fangraphs.com, I notice that his kk/bb ratio hasn’t changed much, his contact percentage however has gone down and he is swinging at more pitches outside the zone than in years past.

    For comparison sake, James’ projections for Heisey are: .267/.328/.485 over only 266 AB though.

    Like I said, for what’s out there I don’t particularly dislike the signing as long as it’s simply for OF depth. If Ludwick ends up getting the majority of the playing time however, it will likely be bad news for Reds fans.

    As a Reds fan, I just hope it works out. I’d love to see him hit like he did in 2008. Good luck to Ludwick here in Cincy.

    An interesting and more in depth statisical analysis by Mike Axisa can be found here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/reds-add-ludwick-much-needed-outfield-depth/

  2. Oh and for the record, I LOVE “Update 3” in the original post. I take Ludwick over either of them.

  3. All of this is just noise to me. We’ll find out if the Reds are “all in”, so to speak, in the period late June to late July. Invariably, as with all teams, something is going to go wrong. It will be necessary to make a trade, and to avoid giving up the farm, it will be necessary to open the wallet.

    If a deal like the Ludwick one prevents the wallet from being opened, then it’s a stupid deal. If it doesn’t, then as long as Jocketty sticks a leash on Baker so that he doesn’t just play Ludwick all the time if he sucks, I just can’t get too excited about it. Again, the real test will come in midseason. If the team needs to make a move, and cries poverty as the reason they can’t make it, I’m going to be very unhappy, and point back to unneeded deals like this one. I’d rather play Phipps, if the Reds are actually out of money now. (Meaning, they really, truly, can’t afford to spend a single more dime this year. But I really doubt that’s the case.)

    • All of this is just noise to me. We’ll find out if the Reds are “all in”, so to speak, in the period late June to late July.

      That’s too late in my opinion. The Reds have to distance themselves from the Brewers early when they are without Braun.

  4. @al: Latos, Madson and Marshall are excellent additions, but if the Reds are putting everything into one season, which is apparently what the Reds are doing, then you’ve got to come up with a better solution than a Ludwick/Heisey combination in LF. Borrow, steal, do whatever, but come up with the money to get something done. You can’t tell me that Houston doesn’t want to get out from under Carlos Lee’s contract. San Diego traded marginal prospects for Carlos Quentin. Each is a horrible defender, but better than what we’ve had in LF for the last 5 years, and fit the RH #4 requirement as well.

  5. @al: Having just read this post, a response seems necessary.

    Ludwick has declined and those stats tell the story of decreased bat speed and aging player. The context and stats to which I am referring is this move considering the current landscape of options.

    For the price and the duration Ludwick seems like a better option than anything else available. Ankiel, Fukodome, etc. I can’t think of a more sound move considering the Reds already made their blockbuster trade and offering still more prospects to pry away a 4th OF or legitimate starter was a bridge too far. Based on the offensive stats, the Reds did not need anything more than a Ludwick type to be the favorites in the division and have a legit shot to progress in the playoffs.

    Statistically, my take on Ludwick is that he is definitely not the same player he was (can’t argue that at all) but his splits show that he is more than a decent fit for Heisey’s lefty deficiency. His left field power at PNC and Petco went from a liability to a strength at GABP. His SLG% was more than 40 points heigher on the road and it was over .410 against lefties in what was generally a bad year. Regressed or no, his strengths play to his new venue and the teams needs.

  6. I guess the real question to me is, why did the Reds need to do more?

    They vastly improved their pitching situation to have arguably the best bullpen in the NL and two legitimate front of the rotation guys (better than Wainright and Carpenter, imo).

    Their offensive production last year was fine in spite of pretty much everything going wrong. Now they have Rolen ostensibly healthy, same for Cozart, with the hope that their young-ish core of Stubbs, Bruce, and Votto can all get slightly better than last year (a very realistic hope).

    Did getting Ludwick for 2.5 mill instead of Lee for 10 million (plus a package including at least 1 probably 2 decent prospects) cost the Reds the division? I don’t see it.

  7. The bottom line is we’re a mid-market team and we need certain guys to step up to win. We didn’t go after Beltran, and that meant we were going to have to lean on Bruce, Stubbs, Arroyo, and Rolen to have bounce back years (Bruce didn’t have so much a bad year as he didn’t have the breakout year that was expected). That’s just the reality of this team. If we didn’t believe Bruce could blossom into a franchise player, we wouldn’t have given him $50 million. Rolen’s the veteran cornerstone. Arroyo’s the Rolen of the rotation. It just is what it is. We all hoped Walt could pull off a magic trick and VASTLY improve every area of the roster without having to give anything up and while still acting within our salary constraints. Well this is what he was physically capable of doing. Time to stop whining and start hoping these guys live up to their potential. If the guys on this roster all have average years, this is a mediocre team. If a couple of them have good years, this is a decent team. If 4 or 5 of them have good years, this is a team that could, at the absolute least, make a run like the Cards did last year. If everything clicks, with the weak division this could potentially be a very good team. All up to the players now.

  8. The more I think about Ludwick, the more I’m beginning to be okay with it. Pretty soon it is possible I might even like it. We’ll see.

    I like the fact that he grew up a Reds fan. I don’t, however, like the fact that he said, “growing up my favorite player was Eric Davis”. That quote reminds me that I’m old.

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