Meet Your Bucs: Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick

by Zane Heiple

With the trade deadline passing on Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up two players that they hope will contribute towards making a run at the National League Central Division title in 2011.  On Saturday the Pirates acquired firstbaseman Derrek Lee from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league prospect Aaron Baker.  General Manager Neal Huntington was not done yet, as he made a move for Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick before the deadline had passed for a player to be named or cash considerations.

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Lee is a former first round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 1993 Major League Baseball draft.  He would debut with the Padres on April 28, 1997.  In 1998 Derrek was traded to the Florida Marlins for pitcher Kevin Brown.  Lee would end up being a member of the Marlins 2003 World Series Championship team and win his first gold glove at first base that season.  After that World Series season he was traded again, this time to the Chicago Cubs.  His best overall season in a Chicago uniform came in 2005 when he would hit .335 with 46 HR and 107 RBI.  Even with his stats slowly dropping after this season, the Atlanta Braves sought him prior to the 2010 trade deadline where he was traded for three Braves pitching prospects.  In 2011 he was signed in the offseason by the Orioles.  In 85 games this year with the Orioles Lee is hitting .246 with 12 HR and 46 RBI.

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Ludwick was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 1999 MLB draft out of UNLV.  Prior to the 2002 season he was traded to the Texas Rangers where he would make his big league debut on June 5 of that season.  This season would be cut short when he fractured his hip and ultimately lead to him being traded to the Cleveland Indians during the 2003 season.  Between 03-06 Ryan would spend time between the Majors and the Minors before being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007.  His best year in the Majors came with the Cardinals in 2008 when he batted .299 with 37 HR and 113 RBI.  During the 2010 season he was sent to the Padres in a three team deal.  One of the reasons why San Diego felt like he was expendable to the Pirates was because of his struggles at Petco Park.  In 2011 Ludwick is batting .238 with 11 HR and 64 RBI.

While both of these players are past their primes, I feel that their experience in playoff runs with be a huge upgrade for the Pirates clubhouse.  This will also add some much needed pop to the Pittsburgh offense.  It was also good to see that the Pirates were buyers at this years trade deadline and did not have to give up hardly any talent to do so.

Zane Heiple

Zane is Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands and a weekly contributor for Armchair Report on NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA related topics. He's also the smartest man in the world. Just ask him.

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