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Former Red Ryan Ludwick signs with the Texas Rangers

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It took long enough, but former Cincinnati Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick has finally found a home. After waiting until just weeks before the start of Spring Training to ink a deal, Ludwick latched on with the Texas Rangers—the team he made his Major League debut with back in 2002.

The most interesting aspect of this story is not that Ludwick signed on with the Rangers—they were still in the market for a left fielder—but rather that he signed on a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Ludwick’s hip injuries have been common knowledge for the past few seasons, and while no one within the Reds organization has come out and said anything about it from last year, it was quite obvious he was hampered by something, or else copious doses of Skip Schumaker and Chris Heisey would not have been jammed down our throats like rancid cough medicine over the past calendar year.

As 2014 came to a close, the front office had a choice to make in the case of Ludwick: were they going to bring him back on a $9 million option, or exercise his buyout and pay him $4.5 million to go away. By all accounts, having such an option at the end of the deal for a player who will turn 36 years old next season was a disaster.

By now you may have heard that the Reds went the latter route, buying Ludwick out and casting him out into the deep waters of free agency. For months on end, he waded without a life raft (at the time of his signing, I was actually in the midst of writing a piece for where he may end up).

The Rangers will pay him $1.75 million if he performs well enough in Spring Training for them and can make the 25-man roster.

Baseball has changed rapidly in a year for Ludwick. This time last season, he was prepared to regain his form as an anchor of the Reds lineup, but now, he’s hanging on for his baseball life in the deep end.

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