Julio Lugo Rumors

Quick Hits: Rivera, Blue Jays, Lugo, Cubs

On this date ten years ago the Red Sox claimed Bronson Arroyo off of waivers from the Pirates. At that point Arroyo had a 5.44 ERA in parts of three seasons with Pittsburgh and the Pirates exposed him to waivers. He would add considerably more value in Boston, where he posted a 4.19 ERA in parts of three seasons before being traded to Cincinnati for Wily Mo Pena in Spring Training of 2006. Here are today's links…

  • Mariano Rivera declined to answer when Newsday's David Lennon asked the Yankee legend if this would be his final season (Twitter link).
  • The contract of Blue Jays manager John Gibbons includes a rolling option that means he won’t face a season as a lame-duck manager, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. Gibbons, who signed for two years plus an option earlier this offseason, has a unique clause in his contract. As long as the Blue Jays don’t fire Gibbons by January 1st of a given year, his option will vest for the following season and the sides will add another option to the contract. The unique deal means Gibbons will have a two-year contract as long as he’s managing the team. It’s reminiscent of the perpetual option on the deal between the Red Sox and Tim Wakefield, though it appears to be the first of its kind for an MLB manager.
  • Julio Lugo said he’s leaning toward retiring following this year’s Caribbean Series, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. "It might be [the end], unless something comes that changes my mind," Lugo said. "But I think this is going to be it for me." The 37-year-old infielder last appeared at the MLB level with the 2011 Braves. He has a .269/.333/.384 batting line over the course of 12 seasons plus $48MM in career earnings (via Baseball-Reference).
  • The Cubs (Scott Feldman), Brewers (Mike Gonzalez) and Pirates (Russell Martin) completed some under-the-radar signings that have the potential to pay off in 2013, Matthew Leach writes at MLB.com.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms that the Rangers and Indians have interest in free agent infielder Ryan Theriot (Twitter link). The Phillies and Giants are also interested in Theriot, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported last month.

Indians Notes: Lugo, Cabrera, Perez

Before Spring Training begins, the Indians will work to settle two unresolved arbitration cases and the uncertainty that surrounds Fausto Carmona/Roberto (Heredia) Hernandez. Here are some notes from Cleveland…

  • Talks between the Indians and Julio Lugo have fallen apart, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. The sides agreed to terms earlier this month, but it no longer appears that the move will become official. Bastian suggests a physical issue may have surfaced.
  • The arbitration hearing dates for Asdrubal Cabrera and Rafael Perez have been set, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. The Indians haven’t had an arbitration hearing since 1991, Hoynes writes.
  • No one is sure how long it will be before Carmona/Hernandez can join the team, Bastian explains. It seems unlikely that the Indians will have him by Opening Day since obtaining a visa and sorting through legal issues will take time.

Indians Sign Julio Lugo

The Indians have signed Julio Lugo to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Dionisio Soldevila of the AP (on Twitter). He's an ACES client.

Lugo, 36, spent last season with the Braves, signing a minor league deal in May and getting released in September. In between, he hit .231/.286/.365 in 58 minor league plate appearances and .136/.208/.136 in 48 big league plate appeances. Lugo gives the team some infield depth along with Jose Lopez and Andy LaRoche, who signed minor league deals with Cleveland earlier this offseason.

Braves Release Julio Lugo

The Braves released Julio Lugo, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman (on Twitter). Atlanta activated the recently-acquired Jack Wilson from the disabled list in a corresponding move.

Lugo, 35, appeared in 22 games for the Braves, backing up at short, second and third without contributing anything on offense (.136/.208/.136 line in 48 plate appearances). The 12-year veteran has a career .269/.333/.384 line, but he hasn't produced at the plate since 2009.

The Braves have now released two infielders in two days; they cut Wes Helms loose yesterday.

Braves Sign Julio Lugo

The Braves signed shortstop Julio Lugo to a minor league contract that's pending a physical, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.com. Lugo will earn $12K per month in the minor leagues and a pro-rated portion of $650K if he makes the Major Leagues, Rojas reports.

The 35-year-old hit .249/.298/.282 in 264 plate appearances with the Orioles last year. In 11 big league seasons with six teams, Lugo has a .270/.334/.386 line with 80 homers and 198 stolen bases. He has experience at second, short and third and can even play the outfield if necessary. Lugo, a right-handed hitter, has hit lefties and righties evenly in his career, but struggled to hit right-handed pitching last year.

Dan Uggla, Alex Gonzalez and Chipper Jones start at second, short and third for the Braves and Brooks Conrad, Diory Hernandez and Brandon Hicks have provided depth at those positions this year. Lugo will provide the Braves with additional insurance in case of injuries or poor performance.

Julio Lugo Hoping For A Chance

It's hard to believe that just four offseasons ago, Julio Lugo was the recipient of a contract that guaranteed him $36MM. Now he finds himself unemployed, telling Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (link in Spanish) that he still hopes a team will take a chance on him this season…

"I want to play, I'm healthy," said Lugo. "The last thing you lose is hope … I keep working every day to be ready when someone remembers my name and believes I can help … I can help in many ways, while playing in different positions in the infield and outfield, run, pinch hit."

Lugo, 35, spent last season with the Orioles, hitting just .249/.298/.282 in 264 plate appearances. The Red Sox designated him for assignment in July 2009, trading him to the Cardinals for Chris Duncan a few days later. Boston paid Lugo almost $13MM over the last year-and-a-half to play in St. Louis and Baltimore.

A right-handed bat with some speed, Lugo has played every position but pitcher, catcher, and first base in his career. As far as we know, no team has expressed interest in him this winter, but all it takes is one Spring Training injury for that phone to ring.

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Olney’s Latest: Rockies, Lee, Diamondbacks, Royals

In today's blog post at ESPN, Buster Olney speculates about some possible trade targets for the Rockies now that Troy Tulowitzki is going to miss the next six to eight weeks with a fractured wrist. Among those mentioned: Dan Uggla, Craig Counsell, Julio Lugo, and Cesar Izturis. Uggla would obviously be the most expensive, but Colorado would boast a dynamic offensive middle infield once Tulo returns.

Here are the rest of Olney's rumors…

  • Sources tell Olney there is no clear signal from the Mariners indicating that they're ready to trade Cliff Lee, but presumably that will come soon. He compares a potential Lee trade to the CC Sabathia trade, meaning that the sooner he's dealt, the more Seattle will receive in return.
  • The Diamondbacks continue to gather intel about possible trades, but they are not close to making another deal at the moment.
  • The Royals have a pair of outfielders in Rick Ankiel and David DeJesus who could be fits for the Red Sox. J.D. Drew suffered a hamstring injury yesterday, and Boston was already without Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida, who are both on the disabled list. Mike Cameron is playing through an abdominal tear as well.

MacPhail Unhappy With Orioles’ Offense

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is on the verge of making roster changes to shake up his struggling offense, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles dropped to 7-21 today, and their lineup hasn't lived up to expectations this season.

"There is going to come a time where we’re going to be obligated to keep making changes in terms of offensive personnel," MacPhail said. "I would say there isn’t a great deal of time left before they have to start doing more than what they’re doing now. I’m not staying with them forever. It’s not a suicide pact. They either have to start performing or they’ll go to [Triple-A] Norfolk."

Although MacPhail didn't single anyone out specifically, Zrebiec notes that Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Luke Scott, Garrett Atkins, and Julio Lugo are among the players underperforming so far.

Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik talked this week about a similar need for offensive production, but while Zduriencik's Mariners are hoping to be buyers, the Orioles, already 13 games out of first place, are more likely to be sellers. Still, MacPhail's comments suggest that if the club elects to make changes, it will probably mean players being demoted rather than traded.

Cardinals To Receive Cash For Lugo

The Cardinals will likely choose to receive cash to complete the Julio Lugo trade with Baltimore, GM John Mozeliak told Brian Feldman of ESPN Radio in St. Louis.  The Cardinals have a choice between receiving a player to be named later or cash considerations for the veteran infielder.

Feldman opines that this demonstrates the lack of value Lugo really had as spring went along.  It's hard to argue with that reasoning.  Lugo became expendable when Felipe Lopez fell into their laps at a bargain rate.

The 34-year-old hasn't exactly been mashing for the O's so far this season, as evidenced by his .107/.167/.107 slash line.  Something tells me we might see Julio again when we run the "Traded Players' Slow Starts" post later this evening.

Odds & Ends: Posey, Jamey Wright, Lugo, Hart

Let's take a look at a few more assorted Friday links….