The swap that sent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres and fetched starting pitcher Jake Westbrook for the Cardinals seems like its turning out to be a case of being a bust for both clubs.
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Westbrook hasn't pitched bad for St. Louis. He's got a 3.89 ERA in 44 innings pitched since joining the Cardinals. But he's not getting much in the way of results. He's notched only a 1-3 record. Was he really a smart addition to a club that had four days off since he was acquired five weeks ago? It seems that the Birds could have simply skipped his spot in the rotation if they managed the rotation well. If manager Tony La Russa thought the four other starters needed the rest, they could have started fans from the stands and at the worst only lost one win that Westbrook provided.
Ludwick was a .281 hitter for the Cardinals with 11 homers, 44 runs scored and 43 RBIs in 77 games. In San Diego, he's a .220 hitter who has managed only three homers with 13 runs scored and 14 RBIs in 34 games with the Padres.
The true measure of a trade is the performance of the teams following the deal. The Cardinals, suffering from a lack of offense, are 14-18 since Ludwick was dealt and have gone from first place in the National League Central to six games back in second place. The Padres last week became the second team in major league history to lose 10 games in a row and stay in first place the entire time.
Since the Ludwick trade, the Cardinals have lost five games by one run and have scored three runs or less 12 times. I have to believe Ludwick, who provided more than a run per game to the Cardinals, could have helped turn the tide in some of those close contests.
While Colby Rasmus sat on the bench with his calf strain for two weeks, the Birds sure could have used an extra outfield bat. And that doesn't even get into the veteran presence Ludwick offered.