Julio Lugo and Chris Duncan Swapped

Numerous sources are reporting that the Cardinals and Red Sox have agreed to swap Chris Duncan and Julio Lugo. The move comes not too long after the Red Sox designated Lugo for assignment, giving the team a small window to trade, release, or place him on waivers. Previous reports suggested Boston was desperate to move Lugo, so much as to placate potential suitors by accepting a fringe prospect and biting most – if not all – of his remaining salary.

The move was predicated on Lugo clearing waivers, which he did this afternoon. I just wrote about Lugo, saying he was essentially a league average bat with some glove issues at shortstop. Boston is paying for the rest of Lugo’s deal, so St. Louis is receiving a virtually free reserve middle infielder and one superior to Tyler Greene at that.

Chris Duncan is the son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. As you can imagine, Pops reportedly wasn’t too thrilled, nor was manager Tony LaRussa. Whether the pair threatened to quit or not is anyone’s guess, but the situation in St. Louis seems rather unpleasant at this point.

In Duncan, the Red Sox get someone to show for the contract they just traded. The story on him is pretty simple. A herniated disk in his neck ended his 2008 and he’s yet to show signs of being the same power hitter as before. With regards to Duncan’s defense, he has none. Guys who flail around in the corner outfield without much success offer little in the way of defensive flexibility.

Duncan is a bit more than I expected Boston to receive for Lugo, but I guess it works out since St. Louis is a team with a hole to fill and without much faith in Duncan’s recovery.

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Duncan’s been well below replacement since that hot start that lasted about a week and a half, and has received tons of playing time, so St. Louis is happy to see him go. Then again, there is nobody significantly better currently on the roster. Duncan was a better player than he was usually credited for when healthy, but it’s hard to see any upside left in him.