The Cincinnati Reds seem to be getting out of the former St. Louis Cardinals business.
The team decided to pay a steep $4.5 million buyout Wednesday instead of picking up a $9 million option to retain former Redbirds flychaser Ryan Ludwick for the 2015 season, according to multiple reports.
Ludwick batted .280 with an average of 24 home runs a season in three plus years with the Cardinals. St. Louis traded him to the San Diego Padres as part of a three-way swap that brought pitcher Jake Ludwick to the Birds at the trade deadline in 2010. He signed with the Reds prior to the 2012 season. He hit .258 with an average of just over 12 homers a season in three years in Cincinnati.
He made about $9.5 million with St. Louis over four years. With the Reds he made $17 million for three years of play.
Ludwick might be the best example of the difference between the Walt Jocketty and John Mozeliak eras with the Cardinals.
Mozeliak, who took over as the St. Louis GM in 2007 following the firing of Jocketty, picked up the talented but injury prone outfielder as a minor league free agent prior to the 2008 season. He got several years of cost effective service from a young, up and coming player. Then he dealt Ludwick in his age 31 season as the outfielder's cost began to outweigh his production.
Jocketty looked at Ludwick's previous production and signed him to play in Cincinnati on what was initially what was a make-good contract. But then he over-paid an aging player and now the low-budget Reds will pay dead money in 2015 that could have been used to sign other players to make Ludwick go awway.