After missing out on Roy Oswalt, it appears that the St. Louis Cardinals have worked out a plan B.
The Cardinals, Padres and Indians completed a three-team trade that will bolster the St. Louis rotation, improve San Diego's presence at the plate and provide Cleveland with more young talent.
According to MLB.com, Cleveland sends starter Jake Westbrook and cash to St. Louis, the Padres get the Cardinals' Ryan Ludwick, and the Indians pick up pitcher Corey Kluber, a strong prospect in the Padres system.
Westbrook will head to St. Louis and help plug holes at the back end of its rotation. With a 4.65 ERA this season and a career 4.34 mark, Westbrook missed much of 2008 and all of 2009 due to Tommy-John surgery. Not only has Westbrook been solid this season, but he is an innings eater, three times surpassing the 200-IP mark.
The Cardinals, who are in the midst of a razor-thin NL Central race, will likely use Westbrook as a fourth starter. Adding the Cleveland pitcher to a rotation of Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, and Adam Wainwright will bolster their position among NL favorites, and certainly help them expand their 1/2 game lead over the surprising Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.
The Yankees had been rumored to be interested in Westbrook, they have missed out on the starter. Recent reports have also claimed that New York will not pursue Ted Lilly, making it unlikely that the team will add to its rotation prior to the deadline.
The Cardinals also receive Nick Greenwood, a Single-A pitcher, from San Diego. Greenwood was selected in the 14th round of the 2009 draft.
Ludwick will immediately provide some pop in the middle of the Padres order. Though the right fielder boasts a modest 11 homers and 43 RBIs this season, he just got off a month-long stay on the disabled list with a calf injury. The 31-year-old veteran drove in 97 last year and is only two years removed from smacking 37 home runs and 113 RBIs.
Though a solid hitter in St. Louis, the Cardinals are intrigued by rookie Jon Jay, who has impressed in limited playing time. Ludwick is also arbitration-eligible this offseason. For the final third of the season, however, he will immediately improve a San Diego offense that sits 12th in the NL in runs scored.
The Indians continued their rebuilding phase by adding Kluber, who has had a strong season in Double-A. In 21 starts for the San Antonio Missions, Kluber is 6-6 with a 3.45 ERA and owns a dominant 136 strikeouts to 40 walks.
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