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Trading Places: Pirates Acquire Ryan Ludwick
Nate Springfield | Sunday July 31st, 2011
Ryan Ludwick adds veteran presence to the Pirates. (Icon SMI)
Ryan Ludwick adds veteran presence to the Pirates. (Icon SMI)

With just minutes before Major League Baseball's trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Ryan Ludwick from the San Diego Padres in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Ludwick, who was a late trade at the 2010 trade deadline from St. Louis to San Diego, is heading back to the National League Central, but this time as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  

Ludwick's offensive production is at a career low this season, hitting only .238 with 11 home runs and 64 RBI.  Playing half of his games in the pitcher friendly PETCO Park, and hitting in one of the worst offenses in the majors, plays a part in his down year.  A return to the familiar NL Central, playing in a better hitting ballpark, and hitting in a better lineup will hopefully help his production at the plate.

The Pirates can put Ludwick in left field until Jose Tabata or Alex Presley is healthy enough to play again.  When either of those players return from the disabled list, look for Ludwick to be the primary right fielder against lefthanded pitching, while Garrett Jones will see starts at the position against righthanded pitching.  Ludwick is a definite upgrade in right field against left handed pitching, and will be a power threat off the bench when in a pinch hit role.

With Ludwick's contract expiring at the end of the season, the Padres did well in getting return for him now, considering the 33-year old outfielder doesn't project as a Type-A or Type-B free agent. 

From a fantasy standpoint, Ludwick may see less at-bats, but gets a boost in value hitting in a better situation in Pittsburgh.  Monitor his role, and if he becomes the every day rightfielder no matter what pitcher is on the mound, he may emerge as a mixed league option once again.  Garrett Jones, the possible platoon partner in right, value takes a hit - especially if he is regulated to a role of coming off the bench.  In San Diego, Ludwick's departure frees up at-bats for a combination of players.  Kyle Blanks, Will Venable, Chris Denorfia, and Jesus Guzman will all see a marginal increase in value from the additional at-bats they will see.
Nate SpringfieldNate Springfield joined the Baseball Press crew for the 2010 season and hosts the site's podcast. His love for the game has grown thanks to fantasy baseball, with a specialty in NL-only auction leagues. You can contact him at nate@baseballpress.com or follow him on Twitter @NateSpringfield.