Ludwick, Cardinals agree to 1-year $5.45M deal

BY foxsports • January 19, 2010

Outfielder Ryan Ludwick and the St. Louis Cardinals have avoided arbitration for the second straight season, agreeing Tuesday to a $5.45 million, one-year contract.

The 31-year-old Ludwick hit .265 with 22 homers and 97 RBIs last season for the NL Central champions. He agreed to a $3.7 million one-year deal last February after becoming an All-Star for the first time in 2008.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Ryan,'' general manager John Mozeliak said. "Ryan has proven to be a steady run-producer for our ballclub for the past two-plus seasons.''

Ludwick is likely to bat fifth again. He said at the team's Winter Warmup that he was looking forward to following Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday in the lineup.

"Albert and then Matt, on-base percentage-wise, those guys are on base a lot,'' Ludwick said. "So whoever is hitting in the five and six slot is going to be pretty excited.

"I'm fired up, I'm really excited to get down to Jupiter (for spring training).''

Second baseman Skip Schumaker, who is arbitration eligible for the first time, asked for $2.75 million while the Cardinals offered $1.45 million. He made a successful conversion from the outfield to second base last season and also batted .303.

"I think I was OK,'' Schumaker said. "You can take a million ground balls but the game situations is what shows how good you are. The more games I play, the better I'll be, and I can obviously be better.''

Schumaker, who made $430,000 last season, said Sunday he and the team were close on a contract.

Ludwick batted .323 with runners in scoring position with 27 two-out RBIs, one behind Pujols' team-leading total, and had nine outfield assists with only one error.



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