The day has been approaching for some time, and FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal is now claiming that the Red Sox are trying “desperately” to move Julio Lugo, who is in the third year of a four-year, $36 million contract.
Boston’s reasoning is obvious: Jed Lowrie is ready to return from wrist surgery, and Nick Green has outperformed Julio Lugo defensively all season long. Offensively, Green versus Lugo has been close to a wash, but Lugo hasn’t nearly regained his range of motion following knee surgery. Also, Lugo hasn’t played a position besides shortstop since 2006, so while his versatility used to be a plus, it’d be tough to start treating him as a utilityman.
Lugo probably isn’t completely washed up offensively. He certainly never fulfilled expectations with the bat in Boston, but he has hit .284/.352/.367 in 109 at-bats this season. Also, for what it’s worth, he’s traditionally played significantly better in the second half, with the one big exception being when he was traded from the Rays to the Dodgers in July 2006.
The problem is that Lugo just isn’t capable of helping a team as a shortstop with the way he’s moving now. Maybe he’d be OK at second base if he can readjust to the position, but a midseason move might be tough to pull off. Lugo didn’t like it when the Dodgers had him switch positions in 2006, and it really showed in his performance, as he was a complete bust for the team.
The Red Sox will probably just end up eating the final year and a half of Lugo’s deal. The Cubs and Mets were interested last time Lugo was a free agent and both have openings now and the Giants could use an alternative at second base, but it’s doubtful that anyone will rush to relieve the Red Sox of even $2 million-$3 million of the approximately $13 million he’s still owed when he’ll most likely be available for less than $200,000 in a couple of weeks.