Ryan Ludwick appears to have signed a two-year extension worth $15M. We don’t know all the details yet, but I will say that seems reasonable to me.
Let the record show that I was very anti-Ludwick when the Reds signed him. I did not buy the “San Diego screwed me up” excuse. It looked to me like he was a player in rapid decline. But 2012 was a good year, and it has to make you wonder, so I went back and looked at some numbers.
Now, if I showed you the following list of WAR numbers, what would you think?
2.1, 5.6, 2.4, 2.1, 2.8
That looks like an above average player with one crazy season, right? Now, what about this set:
2.1, 5.6, 2.4, 1.9, 0.3, 2.8
Different, huh? Now we’ve got a player who’s all over the map, but the general trend is in the wrong direction. So what’s the difference? San Diego (and a few games in a Pittsburgh immediately after San Diego). In fact, if you look at the splits, Ludwick’s San Diego numbers are WAY out of line with his career totals. Especially in RF. Ludwick isn’t an opposite field hitter, but he does hit enough balls out there that a .136 BA on balls hit to right is going to make him look terrible. That’s what he did in 2011.
So, I’m forced to conclude that Ludwick really might have been especially poorly suited to San Diego. We know this kind of thing happens, but you have to really look at an individual player if you’re going to find it.
I could, of course, be totally wrong, but it seems to me that we should expect Ludwick to be average to slightly above average. I doubt he’ll hit with quite as much power as 2012, but playing half his games in GABP won’t hurt.
This is not a bad deal for the Reds.