The Cardinals have avoided arbitration with right fielder Ryan Ludwick, signing him to a one-year. $5.45-million contract.
I was a little surprised by the number since Ludwick made $3.7 million last year when he was coming off an All-Star season with a .299 batting average and 37 homers. Last year he struggled with injuries and fell back to 22 homers and a .265 batting average.
This contract may be a sign that Ludwick will soon price himself out of the St. Louis market. With the money that the Cardinals have invested in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, it is doubtful they will be able to afford Ludwick beyond 2010 if he expects to keep getting raises like this.
The word that Ludwick signed was something of a surprise because it was thought the team was closer to a deal its other arbitration eligible player, Skip Schumaker.
Now that Ludwick is signed, the team has a better idea of what it has to spend to round out the roster.