The Julio Lugo Era came to a merciful end last night, as the Red Sox designated him for assignment before last night's game with the Blue Jays. That allowed the Red Sox to activate Mike Lowell from the DL.
From the moment I heard the Red Sox had signed Lugo to a four-year, $36 million deal, I knew it was a mistake. He was far from a slick-fielding shortstop. I never understood Theo Epstein's fascination with this guy. He's had some pretty good offensive years, hitting 10 or more home runs five times (and 15 twice), and was a solid .270 hitter. But that vanished in Boston, as he hit just 10 home runs in 2 1/2 years, and had turned into a real defensive liability. (Remember that popup he muffed in Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS in the seventh inning? The Red Sox late-game offensive explosion made people forget that.) The knee surgery earlier this year made his range even worse.
Theo Epstein all but admitted his mistake signing him:
“We did win a World Series with him as our everyday shortstop, and he did make a lot of contributions to that world championship. That’s not to be lost in the mix. But obviously we’d be fudging the truth to say it worked out the way we envisioned. He just never got on track here, never really got locked in and comfortable, and never played even close to the way we expected.’’
Lugo now has to be either traded or released in the next 10 days. His next stop maybe New York. The New York Daily News reported that Lugo was seen working out at the Mets camp in the Dominican Republic right after he was DFA'd. They will wait for Lugo to clear waivers and will then pick him up. The Red Sox will be munching down the vast majority of the $13 million still owed him.
Jed Lowrie will be activated today, and Clay Buchholz will be returned to Pawtucket.