Mid-June in year 1 of a 7 year pact for Matt Holliday.
The day after Ryan Ludwick (temporarily?) took over the 4th position in the batting order from Matt Holliday.
It's far, far too early to call this signing a cock-up on par with Kyle Loshe or Mark Mulder... but here's the stark reality: Ryan Ludwick, if he continues this level of play, is leaving St. Louis after this season.
According to Cots Baseball Contracts, Ludwick is playing 2010 under a 1 year 5.45 million dollar deal. Holliday will make just slightly more than 17 million. Seeing as the Cardinals have publicly stated that they don't want Albert Pujols to reach the option year of his contract (2011) means that every 4 RBI game Ludwick produces, the more his price climbs out of the reach of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Holliday is a talented player. And most of his angst at the plate has been saved for AB's with runners on the base paths. You assume that these splits of bases empty/runners on will come closer to even by the end of the year. But this isn't so much a referendum on his performance as it is a lauding of Ryan Ludwick. Because he leads MLB in one of the more important stats in all of baseball-
Batting average with RISP.
Those are the kind of stats that get corner outfielders money. Going on tears of 4 HR's in 7 games are the kind of stats that get GM's moist. Bad, bad combination for the Cardinals ownership.
Ludwick does owe some loyalty to the Cardinals, yes. They were the ones that nursed him back to prominence after the Cleveland Indians all but gave up on the oft-injured, but talented prospect earlier this decade. But loyalty only burns so deep when your entering the prime of your career as an undervalued player on a championship caliber team. At a certain point you've got to take the best deal you can get.
Another couple of nights like last night for Ryan Ludwick and that deal isn't going to come from the Cardinals.
COMPLETELY UNRELATED NOTE: For the most part, I'm a pretty daft man. Being deeply cynical, prevents many big surprises... but this past Saturday I was had. Some family and friends threw me a surprise birthday party... and I was surprised. 95% of the 10 people who read this junk everyday won't be interested to see a clip of me being shocked to see a house full of people when I came back from binge drinking during the US/UK World Cup match- but for the 5%... LINK HERE