CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Westbrook to Cards; Ludwick to Padres

Westbrook to Cards; Ludwick to Padres

CLEVELAND -- The Cardinals improved their rotation and the Padres boosted their batting order for the stretch run, while the Indians pulled in another prospect as part of their rebuilding process.


More

The three teams pulled off a swap mere hours before Saturday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, as the Indians sent veteran right-hander Jake Westbrook and cash to the Cardinals, who sent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. To complete the deal, the Padres sent Double-A right-hander Corey Kluber to the Tribe and Class A left-hander Nick Greenwood to the Cards.

Westbrook had been scheduled to make the Indians' 1:07 p.m. ET start against the Blue Jays on Saturday, so the deal gained momentum in the late morning. Westbrook was officially scratched less than an hour before first pitch, with rookie right-hander Josh Tomlin taking his place.

"I'm excited," Westbrook said. "I'm excited to go to a club contending for a playoff spot and pitch in some meaningful ballgames. That's why you play the game, for a chance to get into the playoffs, and I'm looking forward to doing that."

Westbrook was so eager to get in the playoff chase that he actually forfeited some of the trade protection in his contract. He was set to receive a $2 million bonus if dealt, and that was a major roadblock in trade talks, given that Westbrook is already owed nearly $4 million in salary this season.

But Westbrook agreed for that bonus to be lowered. The exact details were not announced, but the stipulation had to be approved by the Players Association.

"It was one of the hold-ups for getting me traded," Westbrook said of the bonus. "I don't really want to comment on the details of that, but it was something. Any way that I could help out the Indians, I needed to do that, because I didn't really feel like I honored my contract as well as I would have liked to, being hurt. It was in my best interest and the Indians' best interest to do something like that."

PROSPECT ANALYSIS: Three-way deal
In the three-team trade involving the Indians, Cardinals and Padres, San Diego gave up two Minor League pitchers. Here's some more information on Corey Kluber, who went to Cleveland, and Nick Greenwood, who is now a part of the Cardinals' organization.

Kluber was taken by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2007 Draft out of Stetson. The 24-year-old has spent the 2010 season in the Double-A Texas League, where he led all pitchers with 136 strikeouts in 122 2/3 IP and his 3.45 ERA was 11th. He's got a 4.29 ERA in his Minor League career with a 9.5 K/9 ratio.

The right-hander relies largely on a two-pitch mix, with a fastball and slider, and a good feel for pitching. He profiles as a No. 5 starter type in the future.

The Padres took Greenwood, a 6-foot-1 lefty, out of the University of Rhode Island in the 14th round of the 2009 Draft. Scouts aren't particularly enamored with his stuff -- his fastball sits in the 88-91-mph range -- giving him below-average grades across the board.

Used mostly as a starter with Fort Wayne in the Class A Midwest League, he's got a 4.15 ERA in 95 1/3 IP to date. In his brief career, he's been tough on left-handed hitters -- .190 batting average against and 7.21 K/9 vs. .287 and 6.31 against right-handers -- so perhaps he has a future as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.

-- Jonathan Mayo

Westbrook is 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA in 21 starts this season. He made his return from 2008 Tommy John elbow surgery on Opening Day.

In his career, the 32-year-old Westbrook is 69-71 with a 4.34 ERA in 221 appearances, including 181 starts. All but three of his appearances have been with the Indians, who acquired him from the Yankees in 2000.

Ludwick, 31, is also a former member of the Indians, but his career didn't truly take off until after he signed with the Cardinals as a Minor League free agent in 2007. Ludwick was an All-Star in 2008, and in four seasons with St. Louis, he hit .280 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .507 slugging percentage.

In 2010, Ludwick has a .281/.343/.484 line with 11 home runs, 43 RBIs and 44 runs scored in 77 games. He missed nearly a month with a strained left calf, returning last weekend for the Cards' series against the Cubs.

Rookie Jon Jay has impressed the Cards in his first 48 games, and he will see more time with Ludwick, a third-year arbitration-eligible player this winter, out of the picture.

The Cards bolstered their rotation, potentially at the expense of some production at the plate.

"It's a matter of, what's our bigger need?" manager Tony LaRussa said. "The bigger need is the starting pitcher. We've got some young guys who can be competitive to replace Luddy. It would be nice to have had them both."

In addition to Westbrook, the Cards also pulled in Greenwood, a 22-year-old lefty who was 4-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 21 appearances, including 17 starts, for Class A Fort Wayne.

The Indians did not appear motivated to deal Westbrook earlier this week, but the Cardinals, who long had an interest in Westbrook, were persistent. The Padres helped make the deal happen by shipping Kluber to the Tribe.

Kluber, 24, has spent the entire 2010 season at Double-A San Antonio, where he was 6-6 with a 3.45 ERA. He has struck out 136 and walked 40 in 122 2/3 innings in 22 games, including 21 starts. He leads the Texas League in strikeouts.

The Padres took Kluber in the fourth round of the 2007 Draft.

Just as the Cards were persistent about Westbrook, the Padres were consistent about Ludwick.

"We were looking for a corner outfielder who could hit right-handed pitching," Padres GM Jed Hoyer said. "That was our goal this entire time. We looked at a number of guys on the market, Ludwick made a ton of sense. We kept pursuing him even though he wasn't really available. ... It was really a logical three-way deal, but it was tough to put together."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. He blogs about baseball at CastroTurf. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less