This week, we will take a look at some players that we feel Boston should acquire at the trade deadline. We'll all take a stab at a particular player we want to see playing for the Red Sox during the last two months of the season, as well as our reasons for wanting them in a Boston uni. Agree or disagree in the comments, as us authors don't even necessarily agree with each other on these players.
Ryan Ludwick is hitting .238/.306/.376 for the San Diego Padres in 380 plate appearances. There is no denying that it's an ugly line, and wouldn't be of much use to Boston, even with the way J.D. Drew has been hitting this year. There are a few reasons why, though, that he may be a good fit for Boston down the stretch, as they struggle to squeeze some production out of right field.
Ludwick is right-handed, something Boston doesn't have in their right field candidates outside of Darnell McDonald. He is hitting .272/.337/.432 against lefties this year in 95 plate appearances, and has hit .243/.322/.434 against them since 2007, when he started to play often in the majors. Neither of those numbers looks great on the surface, but there are two things to keep in mind here. For one, Drew is hitting .205/.300/.341 against lefties, and was equally terrible against them in 2010 as well. Reddick isn't a lefty-killer either, with a 728 OPS against them in Triple-A this year, and hit a decent but not great .274/.310/.430 against them at the level last year.
The second item to keep in mind is where Ludwick has been playing in his career. The latest iteration of Busch Stadium is a pitcher's park that kills right-handed power, and Petco Park, while worse for lefties, is no picnic either. He has never had the chance to play consistently in a stadium that wasn't actively trying to make him look bad, so Boston, with its propensity for doubles, would be a great place to see what Ludwick was actually capable of.
His struggles could work in Boston's favor, too, as the Padres won't be able to ask for much, and the teams looking to acquire him will make up a short list. Ludwick will also likely be a Type-B free agent at the end of the year, so the Red Sox could offer him arbitration and pick up an additional supplemental pick in the 2012 draft. Recent supplemental picks have resulted in players like Bryce Brentz and Anthony Ranaudo entering the season, so it's a risk worth taking for a team as talented in the scouting department as Boston.
In addition, Ludwick and his remaining $2 million-plus could be part of a larger deal that involves money and a reliever like Heath Bell, Mike Adams, or Chad Qualls coming to Boston. The Padres are budget conscious, and freeing up present-day money for a squad looking towards the future is something they have to consider. Boston can certainly afford to take on a few extra million, especially if it plugs a hole and results in draft picks worth much more than what they paid in dollars for the rights to Ludwick.
Ludwick may not seem like a major haul, but that's because he isn't. He would be a useful piece that helps strengthen the Red Sox in one of their few areas of weakness, an upgrade on Darnell McDonald, and potential bringer of little future Red Sox. You could do a lot worse than that on July 31, though, especially for the price, and it's not as if Boston needs any major pieces in order to contend the rest of the way in 2011.