According to SI.com's Jon Heyman, the amount of the deal is $5.45 million. That represents a raise of over 47 percent from Ludwick's 2009 salary of $3.7 million. Some estimates expected the 31-year-old to earn as much as $6.5 - $7 million this season, while my conservative estimates, comparing Ludwick to other outfielders of his experience level, called for less.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Ryan," said Cardinals' Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday. "Ryan has proven to be a steady run-producer for our ballclub for the past two-plus seasons and we look forward to another strong season from him in 2010."
The 2008 National League All-Star led Cardinals outfielders in 2009 with 22 home runs and 97 RBI, but his totals were down from the season prior. It was an up and down season in which NL Player of the Month for July slugged 150 points lower than in 2008. Defensively, Ludwick was strong in right field, with a team-leading nine outfield assists. He made just one error all season long.
Ludwick has one more year of arbitration eligibility before having the right to test free agency after the 2011 season. He first joined the Cardinals in December 2006 as a minor league free agent.
The Cardinals other arbitration-eligible player, second baseman Skip Schumaker, said on Monday that he is also close to settling on his 2010 contract. Schumaker will likely make between $2 million and $3 million this coming season, his first as an arbitration-eligible player.
Update: In his official filing, Schumaker asked for $2.75 million while the Cardinals offered $1.45 million. This gap is especially large for such a small base, but the two sides should meet somewhere around the midpoint of $2.1 million. A multi-year deal remains another possibility.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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