Padres land Ludwick from Cards at Deadline
San Diego parts with two pitching prospects in three-way swap
SAN DIEGO -- For weeks, perhaps longer, Padres general manager Jed Hoyer has known the kind of offensive player he wanted to add to the 25-man roster.
And for a period far less than that, Hoyer has had an idea specifically of who he wanted that player to be -- St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick.
But there was a problem.
"A couple weeks ago, the Cardinals started canvassing everyone for starting pitching ... they asked about some of our starting pitching," Hoyer said. "I didn't feel we were in a position to give up pitching. But it made me think if we could find them a starting pitcher, we might have a match.
"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 wasn't one fell swoop on Saturday that helped the Padres land Ludwick, who has hit 70 home runs since 2008.
No, it was more a more calculated and deliberate effort on Hoyer's part that facilitated a three-team deal that not only got Padres the man they wanted, but also fully satisfied the needs of the Cardinals and the third team in the deal, the Cleveland Indians.
"It was really a logical three-way deal, but it was tough to put together," Hoyer said. "But it took a lot of work."
The Padres, who took a two-game lead in the National League West over the Giants into Saturday's game, are hopeful the additions of Ludwick and infielder Miguel Tejada, whom the team traded for on Thursday, will pay large dividends over the final 61 games of the regular season and possibly beyond.
"Jed comes from a place [Boston] where this is what they do, so he's got that mentality," Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "Whenever you're in a position that you can win the World Series, you've got to make the team better and do whatever it takes, and they definitely added some guys that they know are dependable and are going to give you quality at-bats every time they're out there."
The Padres added Tejada and Ludwick without moving either of their top two pitching prospects -- Simon Castro and Cory Luebke -- and by taking on roughly $3 million, as Hoyer said, in additional payroll.
"We're a team with a developing farm system and we didn't want to take away from that system," Hoyer said. "But we're in the race, we're in first place and this is a year we have to be aggressive. I was happy we were able to add two players without injuring the farm system."
Hoyer said Padres CEO Jeff Moorad gave the green light to add salary.
"He's as competitive as it gets. He wanted to be aggressive at the Deadline. Even after the Tejada deal, one of the first things he said was, 'Let's go get Ludwick,'" Hoyer said.
The Padres sent Double-A right-handed pitcher Corey Kluber, who wasn't regarded as one of their top five prospects, to the Indians. San Diego also sent right-handed pitcher Jake Greenwood, who was playing for Class A Fort Wayne, to the Cardinals.
The Cardinals got the player they wanted from the Indians, pitcher Jake Westbrook, a player the Padres fancied throughout the month leading up the 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline on Saturday.
The Padres coveted -- and, really, still do -- another starting pitcher, but Hoyer felt that those needs could be address either externally after July 31 or in-house. Acquiring Ludwick was something Hoyer felt the team couldn't pass on.
Ludwick, who is making $5.45 million this season and is arbitration eligible, is hitting .281 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs this season. Ludwick, who pegs as a right fielder, could make upwards of $6-7 million next season.
"We wanted the talent for this year ... and the fact that he's controllable was a fantastic bonus," Hoyer said. "We probably would have been just as aggressive if he wasn't controllable, but we love the fact we have him for next year as well."
Ludwick returned from the 15-day disabled list on July 24 after being sidelined with a calf strain. He played three games with Triple-A Memphis, where Padres scout Van Smith saw him and filed a favorable report with Hoyer.
"He looked good. He's such an impressive physical presence, a big strong kid. When he was down in Memphis it was like a man among boys," Smith said on Saturday. "He runs like a big stallion. He's got a big arm.
"He hit a home run in Memphis 440 feet to left-center. The radio guys there said it was the longest home run they've seen this year."
Ludwick, 32, had his best season in 2008 when he hit 37 home runs and drove in 113 runs for the Cardinals. He hit 22 home runs and drove in 97 runs last season.
Ludwick leads the National League with a .448 average with runners in scoring position.
"The way he hits that ball, it's more on a line instead of a fly ball," said Padres second baseman David Eckstein, who played with Ludwick in St. Louis in 2007. "It has some real juice. When he hits it, it can go through anything."
To be sure, it's been a busy month and an awfully hectic few days for Hoyer, who said there could still be deals to come. But for the time being, he's satisfied with the state of the 25-man roster.
"It's a much better lineup to write out today than it was 48 hours ago."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.