Monday, June 29, 2009

A buyer for Lugo?

It seemed as though Julio Lugo would be virtually untradeable based on the way he's been buried on the Red Sox bench for the better part of a month. But that might not be the case after all. From

Cincinnati's production at third base — the worst in the majors (.554 OPS) entering Sunday — could improve soon if regular starter Edwin Encarnacion makes a successful return from his broken left wrist. He's currently hitting .286 for Class AAA Louisville on a rehabilitation assignment.
So, the bigger infield need may be at shortstop, where Alex Gonzalez could be out until the end of July after having surgery to remove four loose bodies from his throwing elbow.
An interesting possibility could emerge at that position: Julio Lugo.
Yes, Lugo has been maligned in Boston, more for his defense than his offense. He's batting .292, with a .361 on-base percentage. That's better than Gonzalez's performance at shortstop and Willy Taveras' dismal showing as the leadoff man.
Even though he's rarely done it this year, Lugo has experience in the leadoff spot: a lifetime .272 batting average in 393 career games, according to
Lugo is earning $9 million this year. He's set to earn $9 million next year, too. But the Boston Globe reported Sunday that he could be released once Jed Lowrie returns from the disabled list.
If the Red Sox release him, they will responsible for all the money left on his deal, less the major-league minimum. So, Boston officials have some incentive to explore trades now — with the understanding that they'd need to include a large amount of cash, anyway.

The Red Sox still aren't going to get much in return if they trade Lugo. But if they can either save some money or get any kind of prospect out of the deal, they'd be far better off than just releasing him.

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