Ryan Ludwick came to the Cincinnati Reds at the start of the 2012 season licking his baseball career wounds to put it nicely. He had fallen off rather drastically from that magical 2008 season with the St. Louis Cardinals. Cincinnati embraced him and he slid right in nice and comfy. One year later, Ryan Ludwick sits here with a renewed career and a willing suitor in the Reds. What will happen?
The Initial Denial
Ludwick is playing this correctly in that he initially turned away the five million dollar option. Clearly Ludwick knows that his value has increased a bit over the past several months. In fact, my guess is that he is simply holding out for a multi-year offer. If the price stays reasonable and the Reds can keep him for around six to eight million, then he would make out well. He knows this too I would imagine.
My beloved Reds can't deny that Ryan Ludwick was a necessary part of the middle of the lineup. Ludwick is a solid hitter when the conditions are right. He is comfortable in Cincinnati (most hitters are) and he feels wanted and needed. The Reds need to turn around and offer two years at six million and see where it goes. How much is too much? I would say anything longer than three years at a rate similar to the one mentioned would be too much. The Reds simply don't have that type of money to spend anyway.
The Bottom Line
Ryan Ludwick needs the Reds for many reasons, but the primary one is that he will not likely put up the same type of numbers in a pitcher's ball park. Our little cracker box is a great place for hitters and Ludwick has to know that is a big reason for his big season. If he signs here for a couple more years and then goes and tests the market, he will have a larger body of work to show for a larger payday. I just don't see teams paying for one season in a hitter's ball park.
The Reds need Ludwick simply because he is a solid bat in their middle. Without him in the lineup the Reds will struggle even more to push runs across the plate in stretches. He is a good team guy and he plays hard every single day.
Lets get Ludwick back in the fold quickly before he gets snapped up.
*Southern is a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan that grew up watching Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and the boys dominate the Major Leagues. He longs for those days once again in Cincinnati.
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