They were connected to Roy Oswalt, but the Astros refused to deal within their division and shipped the veteran off to the Philadelphia Phillies. They were briefly connected to Miguel Tejada, but there really did not seem to be a good fit. Other than that, the Cardinals have openly discussed their desire for a starting pitcher and a bat in the middle infield.
Check Starting Pitcher off that list. St. Louis has completed a three team swap that will bring Jake Westbrook of the Indians and Class A pitcher Nick Greenwood of the Padres to the team in exchange for Ryan Ludwick, who is on his way to San Diego.
Westbrook has been successful in his time for Cleveland, posting seasons of 15 wins in 2005 and 2006 and 14 wins in 2004. He has been exactly what the Cardinals are looking for, an innings eater. He has eclipsed 200 inning four times in his career before succumbing to Tommy John surgery in 2008. A pitcher that seems to have already subscribed to the Dave Duncan pitching manual. While he pitches to contact and has a high ground ball ratio, Westbrook will look to refine his approach under some of the top pitching coaches in the league.
More on the Cardinals trade can be found at Stan Musial’s Stance.
Ryan Ludwick has been a cornerstone of the Cardinals for a few years but has struggled with injuries lately and has often been discussed as being priced out of the Cardinals’ range. With the looming Albert Pujols contract extension, the Cardinals will need to save money at certain positions and with the production of Jon Jay, the Cardinals appear to have a surplus in the outfield. Ludwick will take a productive bat to San Diego to solidify a playoff run for a team that has quietly been one of the best in baseball over the last 12 months.
Nick Greenwood has spent the 2010 season playing for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps, the Padres Class A Affiliate. A starting pitcher that has struck out 65 batters in 95.1 innings and only walked 19, Greenwood projects by many scouts to be a middle of the rotation starter or long relief pitcher. The Padres drafted Greenwood in the 14th round of last year’s draft and has expressed that he is learning about the scouting system and how hard it can be at this level to face the same hitters repeatedly.
All things considered, the Cardinals took care of one of their needs in Westbrook, but John Mozeliak will still be on the lookout for a productive addition to his offense. Now the focus turns to players that can clear waivers.
Bill Ivie is the founder of I-70 Baseball and the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com