Bob Stelton and Matt Pitman debate whether the Mariners should trade for Ryan Ludwick
Jun 27, 2011, 5:03 PM | Updated: 5:35 pm
Ryan Ludwick is hitting .254 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs for the Padres this season. (AP photo)
By Brady Henderson
It should be pretty clear to anyone who’s watched the Mariners this season that if they want to continue their unlikely run and compete for a division title they’ll need to upgrade their offense.
A popular name that has been tossed around is that of Padres left fielder Ryan Ludwick, a player the Mariners reportedly have inquired about. On the surface, the move makes sense for a few reasons.
One of the Mariners’ three biggest holes is in left field (along with third base and DH), where they’ve used a combination of Carlos Peguero, Mike Carp and Greg Halman — all young players who haven’t exactly stood out this season. Ludwick, who turns 33 next month, is hitting .254 with nine home runs this season, totals that are affected by the spacious dimensions at Petco Park.
The Mariners rank 12th in the AL with 44 home runs, so any upgrade they make in left field would likely be one that addresses their need for power. Ludwick’s power numbers have decreased since he hit a career-high 37 home runs with the Cardinals in 2008, but the nine homers he’s hit this season would be the third most on the Mariners.
Bob Stelton and Matt Pitman (filling in for the Groz) debated the merits of trading for a player like Ludwick during Monday’s Bob & Groz show.
Pitman’s take: Ludwick would help the Mariners’ offense, but not enough to justify what they’d have to give up in a trade to acquire him — likely one of their several promising middle infield prospects. His career year of 2008 is well behind him, and as a right-handed batter the tough dimensions at Safeco Field wouldn’t do him any favors.
“I don’t like the idea of depleting your depth and talent to go get a guy who could be a marginal addition at best in a Ryan Ludwick-type player,” Pitman said.
Stelton’s take: Because of the difficulty of predicting future individual results, there’s no reason to think the Mariners would be better off waiting a year or two to try to contend. Ludwick is better than his current stats indicate. If the price is right, take a proven commodity like Ludwick over a prospect who may never pan out.
“This attachment to guys that have proven nothing at this level is not rational,” Stelton said. “I understand not wanting to gut your system; I get that completely, and I’m not advocating gut the system, throw out everybody and bring in a marginal hitter. But I’m saying let’s not overvalue some of these guys that have done nothing at this level.”
You can download Monday’s podcast here to listen to the debate.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson