Popular not only for his ability but his enthusiasm, Ludwick was liked throughout the Cardinals clubhouse -- no mean feat in a group of 25 individuals from disparate backgrounds. And his departure means that although Westbrook will surely be welcomed, Saturday morning's trade announcement was met with far from universal acclaim.
Asked if he found the news jarring, second baseman Skip Schumaker said: "A little bit. Yeah.
"Luddy was a big piece of this puzzle. Good clubhouse guy -- real good clubhouse guy. Good professional hitter. Big part of this team. We're going to miss him. But we got a good pitcher, so ... yeah."
Starter Adam Wainwright expressed enthusiasm for the addition of Westbrook, who throws the kind of impressive sinker that often marks Cardinals pitching targets. But Wainwright also displayed an understanding for the economics of the situation, as the Cardinals traded a player who will be third-year arbitration eligible in 2011 and committed to two players who are not yet eligible for the first time.
"It's always exciting when the front office is trying to make moves to get players," Wainwright said. "But today, we lost a pretty key piece of our lineup trying to get a really, really quality starting pitcher. You've got to give to get.
"Jon Jay's hitting .400, so it kind of speaks for itself. He plays great defense in the outfield. And Colby [Rasmus] has had a great year all year. So you're talking about two very, very talented, young, cheap players. ... We lost Ludwick, who's an unbelievable player, but we have the pieces here that we can still do it."
As for Rasmus, he was sorry to lose a teammate who was an ally during his difficult 2009 rookie season.
"I like Lud a lot," Rasmus said. "Last year and this year, Lud was in the outfield. Last year, we had some of those problems in the outfield with a couple of the other guys. But Lud was always good to me. He always helped me out with stuff and helped me with advice. I hate to see him go. I really liked him a lot."
Rasmus, though, said he wasn't entirely shocked by the move -- a notion repeated a few times, including by Ludwick himself. Cardinals players acknowledged that they knew the team might deal from its outfield surplus at some point. Even so, it was hard to imagine Ludwick being dealt during the season, rather than over the upcoming winter.
"It's nice to acquire a guy like Westbrook, and it's hard to lose a guy like Ludwick," said Chris Carpenter. "The loss of Ludwick is something that surprised me. But in turn, like everybody said, you have to give up something to get something. Unfortunately it was Ryan."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.