CINCINNATI (AP) — Ryan Ludwick left the Reds to see if there was a better deal available on the free agent market. He found at least one, but turned it down to stay with Cincinnati.
The left fielder signed a two-year, $15 million deal on Monday that includes a mutual option for the 2015 season. He agreed to the contract over the weekend and came for the formal announcement.
The 34-year-old outfielder batted .275 with 26 homers and 80 RBIs in 125 games last season, when he started 107 times in left field. After first baseman Joey Votto got hurt at midseason, Ludwick emerged as one of the team's most consistent run producers, helping the Reds win the NL Central for the second time in three years.
"I think ultimately I've always wanted to prove that one All-Star year wasn't a fluke and I can be an All-Star again," said Ludwick, an All-Star with St. Louis in 2008. "The ultimate goal would be to win a World Series. That's one of the reasons I came back here. I think we have guys in place one through nine (in the batting order). We brought back pretty much the whole team."
Ludwick hit three homers during the Reds' first-round loss to the San Francisco Giants in the playoffs.
He came to Cincinnati on a one-year, $2 million deal for 2012 that included a mutual option for 2013 at $5 million. Instead, he took a $500,000 buyout, interested in seeing what other teams would offer. General manager Walt Jocketty made an offer, then waited to see what Ludwick decided.