The day has been approaching for some time, and FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal is now claiming that the Red Sox are trying “desperately” to move Julio Lugo, who is in the third year of a four-year, $36 million contract.
Boston’s reasoning is obvious: Jed Lowrie is ready to return from wrist
surgery, and Nick Green has outperformed Julio Lugo defensively all
season long. Offensively, Green versus Lugo has been close to a wash,
but Lugo hasn’t nearly regained his range of motion following knee
surgery. Also, Lugo hasn’t played a position besides shortstop since
2006, so while his versatility used to be a plus, it’d be tough to
start treating him as a utilityman.
Lugo probably isn’t completely washed up offensively. He certainly
never fulfilled expectations with the bat in Boston, but he has hit
.284/.352/.367 in 109 at-bats this season. Also, for what it’s worth,
he’s traditionally played significantly better in the second half, with
the one big exception being when he was traded from the Rays to the
Dodgers in July 2006.
The problem is that Lugo just isn’t capable of helping a team as a
shortstop with the way he’s moving now. Maybe he’d be OK at second base
if he can readjust to the position, but a midseason move might be tough
to pull off. Lugo didn’t like it when the Dodgers had him switch
positions in 2006, and it really showed in his performance, as he was a
complete bust for the team.
The Red Sox will probably just end up eating the final year and a
half of Lugo’s deal. The Cubs and Mets were interested last time Lugo
was a free agent and both have openings now and the Giants could use an
alternative at second base, but it’s doubtful that anyone will rush to
relieve the Red Sox of even $2 million-$3 million of the approximately
$13 million he’s still owed when he’ll most likely be available for
less than $200,000 in a couple of weeks.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.