The one person who shouldn't complain about the departure of Albert Pujols' longtime sidekick Ryan Ludwick is ... Albert Pujols. The main reason the Cardinals traded Ludwick for semi-OK pitcher Jake Westbrook is that they are trying to clear salary so they can give Pujols one of the richest contracts in baseball history.
The Cardinals needed more hitting, not less. Still, it wasn't the worst strategy to offset their low-scoring offense by acquiring another arm. Westbrook does have talent. A move to the NL - and to a staff overseen by Dave Duncan - could prove to be most fruitful.
That trade is easier to figure out than the White Sox dealing prospect Daniel Hudson for mediocre Edwin Jackson. I don't blame Kenny Williams for refusing to mortgage the future to go after a one-and-done slugger such as Adam Dunn, though.
As for the Cubs dealing Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers in a classic salary-dump move that brought Blake DeWitt in return ... that's fine as long as Tom Ricketts uses the money saved next offseason. DeWitt is a left-handed, 5-years-younger version of Theriot. And if the Cubs want to bring Lilly back next season, they'll be able to.
On a personal note, I liked Lilly and Theriot. Lose or lose, those two always were available to the media after games to take the heat when many of their teammates would run and hide.
Theriot and I used to live in the same neighborhood about a mile from Wrigley, and when I asked him just a couple months ago about the house he bought, he said: "Oh, we haven't bought. We're renting." Good decision, it turns out.
Lilly ... well ... I'll never forget the way he threw his glove after Arizona's Chris Young took him deep in Game 2 of the 2007 playoffs. Talk about one moment that captured the very essence of all things Cub - truly a Cubbie instant classic!
Oh, and good for new Yankee Kerry Wood, too. Paychecks aside, the guy has known mostly baseball heartbreak. Now he's on the best team in the world.