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Ludwick swapped for Westbrook in three-team deal

Cardinals rightfielder Ryan Ludwick has been traded to the Padres in a three-team trade that landed Jake Westbrook from the Indians.

On the surface, I don't like it. An All-Star, power-hitting outfielder for an aging, injury dinged three or four starter? It's especially unappealing when you factor in that the Cardinals offense has scored one run in it's last 19 innings. How can you jettison a guy who has been your cleanup hitter and expect the offense to get better?

I have to believe a major motivator behind this deal is Ludwick's salary. He was going into his last off-season of arbitration and would likely have had an $8 million or more annual paycheck coming before hitting free agency after 2011. He simply didn't fit into the payroll anymore if the Birds are going to have to give superstar Albert Pujols a healthy raise.

The Cardinals also landed pitching prospect Nick Greenwood from San Diego in the deal.

Greenwood is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound Class A closer who is 8-5 with a 3.12 ERA and six saves in a season and a half of minor league ball. He's 22 and was taken in the 14th round of the 2009 draft.