• Exclusives

    Braves trade targets… One of these things is not like the others

    by Kent Covington

    One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn’t belong.  

    Atlanta is rumored to have interest in Carlos Quentin, Hunter Pence, B.J. Upton, Josh Willingham, perhaps Michael Bourn (despite the fact that he’s a left-handed hitter) or Ryan Ludwick. OK, boys and girls…

    Can you tell which thing is not like the others by the time I finish this song?

    Quinten represents another right-handed middle-of-order bat. Pence offers a productive RH bat & good wheels, along with the ability to play any OF position. Willingham has been a consistent run producer for years, and he boasts a nifty .918 OPS vs LHP over the past 3 seasons. Upton can provide speed, power and defense anywhere in the outfield. Bourn is one of the game’s premier leadoff hitters.

    Ryan Ludwick brings a solid glove and… ummm… well, he also provides, uh… never mind.

    All of the aforementioned players could substantially boost Atlanta’s World Series aspirations.  All of those players, that is… except for Ryan Ludwick.

    Ludwick was one of the game’s top offensive forces in 2008, hitting .299 with 37 HR’s and 113 RBI. Since ’08, however, he’s displayed only momentary flashes of the superstar slugger he once appeared to be.  His current .238 average and .675 OPS are the worst marks of his career (min. 100 at-bats) by a wide margin.

    What’s more, over the past 3 years, Ludwick, despite batting right-handed, has struggled against left-handed pitching, hitting .238 with an OPS around .700 vs southpaws.

    Granted, he would fit right in with an Atlanta offense that is dead last in the NL in hitting vs left-handed pitching (.215).  But I think the point of a deadline trade is to UPGRADE your roster for a postseason run. And simply put, Ludwick does nothing to improve this Atlanta Braves ballclub.

    Quentin, Pence, Upton, Bourn and Willingham are worthy trade targets.

    Ludwick just doesn’t belong.