If it weren’t for a $4.5 million buyout for 2015 in Ryan Ludwick‘s contract, he would’ve all but certainly been dealt by the Cincinnati Reds before the non-waiver trade deadline. The Reds may not have gotten much in return for Ludwick, but could’ve scored a reliever better than most of the ones currently in the Reds’ bullpen.
Ludwick and the Reds have a mutual option for 2015 of $9 million, but it’s hard to imagine the Reds would consider paying the additional $4.5 million beyond the buyout to keep a player who has been a huge disappointment and not exactly a fan favorite.
Despite the disappointment of Ludwick since he signed a two-year contract in 2013 to remain with the Reds after a stellar 2012 season, there’s still a lot of baseball left in Ludwick.
Ludwick can still play a decent left field and he can still hit. At 36 years old, he may not have the home run power he once had, but he still has run-producing ability at the plate, which he has proven to some degree this year after a dismal 2013 season.
Ludwick was only able to play in 38 games last year due to shoulder surgery, but has played 93 this year while hitting .259 with a .725 OPS in 336 plate appearances. He’s hit just eight homers and drove in only 40 runs, but the pop is still there.
The remainder of August may be all that Ludwick gets to crank up his bat to its fullest potential because the Reds are going to have to audition players in left field who will have a chance to make the Reds in 2015.
With Ludwick’s time almost done with the Reds, his steep price will linger into next year, but so too will the memory of how vital he was for the Reds in 2012 when the team last claimed the NL Central.