Two National League contenders strengthened themselves impressively for the stretch run with one bold three-way trade on Saturday, with St. Louis acquiring right-handed pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, San Diego landing hard-hitting outfielder Ryan Ludwick from St. Louis and the Indians receiving a couple of prospects from the Padres, including Double-A pitcher Corey Kluber, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.
While Cleveland rebuilds, the Cardinals and Padres, two clubs with serious playoff aspirations, landed exactly what they needed.
A veteran right-hander who missed most of 2008 and 2009 following Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, Westbrook bounced back to make the opening day start for Cleveland in 2010 and has gone 6-7 with
a 4.65 ERA over 21 starts.
The Cardinals have been searching for a starter because things have been in flux in the rotation after Carpenter and Wainwright. Rookie Jaime Garcia has been sensational, but there is concern over his workload. Kyle Lohse has been out for much of the season due to a forearm injury. And Brad Penny has battled various nagging injuries.
Lohse has made an injury-rehabilitation start and the Cardinals hope he will return to the rotation in a few weeks.
"There is a better expectation [that he'll be good]," Cards manager Tony La Russa told reporters recently in St. Louis. "He's feeling really normal, and he says he likes the way he's responding."
In Ludwick, the surprising Padres got what they have been searching for: An outfielder who will help add pop to a sluggish offense. Ludwick is hitting .281 with 11 homers and 43 RBI for the Cardinals this year, and his defense is very underrated. In that department, he fits perfectly into a Padres team that is strong with the gloves and whose pitching staff leads the majors in ERA.
The Padres are sending Kluber to the Indians and minor-league right-hander Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals.