Lugo gives the Cardinals some depth in the infield, as the team was struggling to find people to play the infield. Mark DeRosa was another recent acquisition, so Lugo will join DeRosa, Brendan Ryan, Tyler Greene, Joe Thurston and Skip Schumaker in jockeying for playing time.
It’s likely the Sox are eating much of Lugo’s contract (roughly $3 million due to him the rest of the year, $9 million next) because Chris Duncan, a left-fielder/first baseman, is making only $825,000 on the year.
Duncan will be arbitration eligible after the year. Duncan burst on the scene in 2002, hitting 22 home runs in 280 at-bats for a line of .293/.363/.590. The year after, he bopped 21 homers in 375 at-bats for a .259/.354/.480 line.
It was downhill from there. He saw only 222 at-bats in 2008, hitting .248/.346/.365. In 2009, he drew the ire of Cardinals fans, hitting .227/.329/.358 in 260 at-bats before being optioned to Triple-A Memphis. That tends to happen when you’re 1-for-31 since June 29.
Duncan’s off-year notwithstanding, he provides an immediate boost to the Sox’s hopes of hitting right-handed pitching: he has a career .270/.366/.485 line against right-handers. Let’s not talk about his splits against left-handers.
My guess is Duncan heads to Triple-A Pawtucket to try to turn things around and will join the BoSox in either August or certainly, September. With Mark Kotsay battling a calf injury, Duncan could step in as his replacement unless the Sox opt to have Kotsay be the long-term casualty for Adam LaRoche.
Duncan is limited to largely left-field and first base and could play off the bench for the Sox next year if he can impress in Triple-A and his Boston stint.
The Sox were losing Lugo anyways, so I’m thrilled to see the Sox parlay Lugo into a bat that could really help the Sox with their problems against right-handers.