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Julio Lugo Rumors
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe notes that the D'Backs have been scouting the Red Sox recently. This may be nothing more than a straightforward assignment, but Chad Tracy could appeal to the Red Sox. Mike Lowell should return after the All-Star break, but Tracy, who just came off the DL, could appeal to Boston if Lowell's injury is worse than anticipated.
The D'Backs "would like to move" the corner infielder, who will become a free agent after the season if the D'Backs don't exercise his $7MM option for next season. The Red Sox have limited space on their bench, however, especially now that Julio Lugo is boosting his trade value by hitting better.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Reds are actively seeking right-handed hitting, especially after losing out on Mark DeRosa to the rival Cardinals. Here are a few options for the Reds, who could improve at third base, shortstop and left field:
- They have considered dealing for Josh Willingham.
- Ty Wigginton could fit their needs as well.
- Adding Matt Holliday would be huge for the Reds, but he'd command the biggest return of all.
- Gary Matthews Jr. could fit in Cincy if the Angels are willing to pay a considerable portion of his contract. The Angels would likely want relief help in return.
- Since the Red Sox may be prepared to eat a considerable portion of Julio Lugo's salary, the Reds could consider dealing for him and asking for Boston to pay most of his $9MM salary.
The Boston Globe has posted a few notes today from Amalie Benjamin and Tony Massarotti.
- Massarotti says that between Daisuke Matsuzaka on the DL, the age John Smoltz (42) and Tim Wakefield (43), and not knowing how much Clay Buchholz can contribute, Brad Penny is "more valuable to the Red Sox than people may think" and there shouldn't be any urge to move him. Massarotti quotes Terry Francona, "We didn't sign him to trade him. We signed him to win. He’s worked hard. I only think it’s going to continue to get better."
- While Jason Bay isn't concerned about getting a contract done, Massarotti says the Sox "have every intention of revisiting talks with the outfielder before the end of the season, a baseball source has confirmed."
- Amalie Benjamin suggests that Jed Lowrie's return could mark the end of the Julio Lugo era in Boston. Before yesterday, Lugo had not started since June 14, ceding time to Nick Green who is making $8.5MM less. According to Benjamin, "…the shortstop would be foolish not to prepare for the possibility of being released. The Sox would be on the hook for his salary, and he could be signed by any club for the league minimum."
Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that the Mets are not interested in acquiring Julio Lugo. The Jose Reyes injury leaves them "in dire straits" according to Speier's source, but they are not "desperate" enough to go after Lugo. He's available on the trade market, but has $15MM remaining on his contract between this year and 2010.
The Red Sox have shortstop issues of their own, and are considering making a deal. They're playing Lugo and Nick Green as they await Jed Lowrie's return from a wrist injury.
According to John Tomase of the Boston Herald Jed Lowrie will have his left wrist examined today in Arizona. If the tests don't go well he could face surgery that, as Lowrie says, "would essentially be the season."
The Red Sox have Julio Lugo and Nick Green to play short. Lugo is rehabbing his way back from knee trouble and Green was actually outperforming Lowrie so far this season. There aren't any shortstops available on the free agent market.
Julio Lugo is going to have his knee scoped to determine the severity of a torn meniscus, reports Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal. Recovery from a meniscus tear can be a matter of weeks or months.
Lugo has a $9MM vesting option for 2011 that requires 600 plate appearances in 2010 (and 2400 PAs from ’07-’10) for it to kick in. That now looks improbable.
The latest on the Red Sox, courtesy of WEEI’s Alex Speier.
- Julio Lugo says he’s in the best shape of his career. The $9MM shortstop won’t be happy if he’s on the bench this year. Speier believes he’ll ask for a trade if he doesn’t win the competition with Jed Lowrie. Lugo was following the Tigers trade rumors earlier this winter.
- Jason Bay remains open to an extension, but admitted "it’s not the end-all, be-all." Bay will be part of the 2009-10 free agent class if the Sox don’t lock him up.
- According to the AP, catcher Jason Varitek spoke of spending the rest of his career with the Red Sox.
- WEEI’s Rob Bradford spoke to Josh Beckett, who hopes to remain in Boston past his current contract. The Red Sox have a $12MM club option for a $2MM buyout for 2010.
- Bradford also reports that the Brad Wilkerson signing is official; he’s in camp on a minor league deal.
THURSDAY: According to ESPN’s Steve Phillips, the Red Sox and Diamondbacks are having discussions about swapping Julio Lugo for Eric Byrnes. Lugo would play second base for Arizona, while Byrnes would be Boston’s fourth outfielder. Lugo has $18MM left on his deal, Byrnes $22MM with no-trade protection.
We’ve all heard the Rocco Baldelli-Red Sox rumors. Today Ed Price says the Sox are wary of Baldelli in that they’ll need their fourth outfielder to be able to play the outfield for significant stretches.
Price adds that the Red Sox still hope to trade Julio Lugo and replace him with a utility infielder.
Red Sox linkage…
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says the name of Willie Bloomquist continues to be associated with the Red Sox.
- Silverman says the Sox have been floating around Julio Lugo‘s name; no interest yet.
- Silverman sees the Tigers, Marlins, and maybe Yankees as potential suitors for Jason Varitek. Scott Boras would have a hard time getting two years, $20MM from any of those teams. The Marlins or Yanks would have to give up their first-round pick, too.