Ryan Ludwick bounced back and had a nice 2012 season after an embarrassing 2011, and now he’ll reap the benefits. The Reds have agreed to bring their left fielder back for the next two seasons, and they’ll pay him $15 million for his trouble. The new contract also has a mutual option for 2015, so if either party is like, “hey, this sucks” the two can part ways amicably. Ludwick’s name came up quite a bit during the winter meetings, but really only when linked to his staying with the Reds.
Following a season in which he posted a dismal .673 OPS, Ludwick’s bat roared back to life in 2012. The 34-year-old veteran hit .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers in 472 PA and was worth a total of 2.8 WAR per FanGraphs. Ludwick is a pretty good bet to keep producing for the next two seasons, as he has a pretty solid track record and even hit very well last season when he wasn’t at home in Great American Home Run Ballpark (.896 home OPS vs. .856 road OPS).
This deal seems like a fair one for both sides. Ludwick wasn’t likely to get much more from anyone else, and the Reds weren’t likely to find a better or more affordable option to play left field. Ludwick’s bat is still solid enough for the position at the moment, and there is actually evidence that he is decent with the glove as well even if UZR hasn’t been his biggest fan over the past couple of seasons. The Reds are a team that will definitely plan on contending in 2013, and Ludwick is one of those parts they simply needed to bring back. The Cincinnati roster already has its stars and its pitching, and a solid player like Ludwick can go a long way in solidifying the team and avoiding gaping holes. That’s what she said?