A look at sports inside and outside the Tampa Bay Area. Don't be mad at me - I'm much better at my day job.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The O's Make a Trade.
It's been announced that the O's have acquired former Devil Ray/Astro/Red Sox/Dodger/ Cardinal infielder Julio Lugo for the always popular player to be named later. Chances are that player will be named Cash. To make room for Lugo, Michael Aubrey was designated for assignment.
I wish this was an April Fools joke; not because I think Lugo is washed up (he hit .280 with St Louis and Boston last season), but because this means Brian Roberts isn't as healthy as we're being told.
Roberts has struggled with a herniated disk in his lower back all spring and just returned to the everyday lineup. For the O's to pull in an experienced middle infielder this late in Spring Training means that they are worried that Roberts may miss significant time.
If they weren't concerned then they wouldn't have made the deal and stuck it out with Robert Andino and Ty Wigginton as their utility infielders. I don't see them carrying three spare infielders all season long so I'm guessing the light hitting Andino, who is out of minor league options, is the odd man out.
Lugo wanted out of St Louis when it was apparent he wasn't going to be a starter for the Cardinals. Could Lugo eventually beat out Cesar Izturis for the starting shortstop position? It's possible, but unlikely. The O's like Izturis' defense and feel that they have enough power in the lineup to make up for his below average offensive output.
Roberts has played in the last three games for the O's and is slowly playing his way into game shape. He states that he feels fine, but back problems, like hamstrings and sprained ankles, have a tendency to linger throughout the season. It could also affect the way Roberts plays the game. Will he be wanting to dive after ground balls or slide headfirst into second if it might cause the injury to flare up?
The longest tenured Oriole is a key part of the O's lineup. He is a steady leadoff hitter that sets the tempo for the power guys behind him. Buster Olney from ESPN points out that the O's open the season with 28 of 35 games against teams that had a winning record last season. Sixteen of their games in April are against American League East teams. If they aren't firing at all cylinders to start the season they could find themselves 10 games back by the time May 1st comes around.
Despite all of that doom and gloom there is some good news: The O's won't be spending a lot of money on Lugo. The Red Sox are paying all but $400,000 of Lugo's $8.6 million salary.