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Julio Lugo, in his habitual pose.I have a problem.

I. Hate. Julio. Lugo.

I hate the stupid sub-.300 OBP he had last year. I hate the stupid hitting streak he’s on right now, because I know he’s just doing it to be even more of a $%@#$ later. I hate his enormous bug-eyes that stare so widely AND YET STILL MISS THE BALL. I hate that he wears his belt higher than Steve Urkel. I hate that he’s owned in 56% of ESPN fantasy leagues—who are you people and who is your leader??

Because of Julio Lugo, I am even starting to hate the song “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” which makes me hate him even more, because that’s a good $#@%* song, goddammit.

I hate that Lugo’s six errors are nearly TWO-THIRDS of Boston’s 10 team errors. I hate that he would have even more errors if the official scorer were allowed to assume EVEN THE MOST BASIC AND ELEMENTARY LITTLE-LEAGUE LEVEL DOUBLE PLAYS. I hate that even when he doesn’t make an error, he still finds a way to suck. I even hate the one thing about him that doesn’t technically suck—his speed on the basepaths—because that speed masks the true depths of his sucktitude in the batter’s box.

Is this measured, or rational, or fair? No, no, and hell no. But then, hatred so rarely is.

Get away, Dustin! UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN!!!

So most of all, I hate that Theo Epstein offered him way more money than any other GM was even imagining offering him, so that now, not only are we paying through the nose for this @#$*%!, we can find no one else to take him off our hands. The $26 million remaining on the deal would be better spent stuffed directly into owner John Henry’s 164-foot yacht, the Iroquois, and burned as fuel.

And of course, I hate that Julio Lugo is blocking fuzzy-cheeked Jed Lowrie. Did you know that Lowrie has 5 RBI in 26 plate appearances, while Lugo has 5 ribbies in 86 plate appearances? Typical. More errors than runs batted in! And five GIDPs too! Even with the speed! And I laugh—LAUGH!—at the fact that in the ninth inning of of a recent game, with the Sox up by a run and Manny Ramirez out of the game, Terry Francona moved Lugo to left field and Can't even find his OWN balls.Lowrie over to shortstop as a defensive replacement.

But it is not happy, trilling laughter. No, it is cold, cynical laughter. Because, as I was forced to conclude in this week’s Metro column, Julio Lugo’s below-average play and above-average pay likely mean that Jed Lowrie’s days in Boston are numbered. Not only is the entire left side of Boston’s infield locked up through 2010, Jed Lowrie may not be a natural shortstop anyway, as he lacks some of the necessary “first-step quickness” (in the words of Baseball Prospectus). However, he has worked hard to cut down on his error rate and his throws are generally solid, so his comparative lack of range may not be immediately apparent. This leads me to conclude that, at short, the most that could be hoped for is the defensive capability of Derek Jeter, who has very sure hands but, like that other good-looking Derek, one Mr. Zoolander, “can’t go left.” Thus, another team may be happy to take Lowrie and stick him at second base. As for the possibility, explored by Coley at MLB Trade Rumors last weekend, that Boston would keep him and use him as a super-utility guy? It’s possible, but I think it’s unlikely as long as he has even greater value to the team as trade-bait.

But Red Sox fans, take heart. Even if we are stuck with Julio Lugo through 2010, we do have another, potentially even better shortstop prospect waiting in the wings. Right now, he’s down at Greenville, Boston’s single A affiliate. Oscar Tejada, writes Baseball Prospectus, is a “toolsy Dominican” who was “impressive” last year, in his debut season for the Gulf Coast League, “showcasing gap power, good speed, excellent range, and a cannon for an arm.” He’s still “at least three to four years away,” but he’s also “brimming with potential.” Some additional info:

The Good: Tejeda has all of the tools necessary to be a star-level shortstop. He’s a good hitter with a line-drive stroke who has the frame and the bat speed to develop into some power. Defensively, he has excellent range, crisp actions and a strong arm.

The Bad: Not even 18 yet, Tejeda is still rough around the edges in many aspects. He still hasn’t seen enough breaking balls to make the proper adjustments to them, and he needs to improve in the little parts of the game, like bunting and baserunning. Like many young, flashy shortstops, he’s prone to errors when trying to make spectacular plays.

Perfect World Projection: A starting shortstop with the ability to create runs at the plate, and prevent them in the field.

Timetable: Tejeda’s youth and inexperience leaves him very far from his potential. While it seems like he’s ready for a full-season assignment, he’ll be only 18 for all of 2008, and there might be a need for patience.

I hope Oscar Tejada comes along well. I hope he’s ready to go by spring training in 2011. And I hope to God that I still have eyes to see him by then, because if I’m stuck watching Julio Cesar Lugo for the next three full seasons, I may actually claw them out.

38 Responses to “I hate Julio Lugo. I HATE HIM.”

  1. I think we have Lugo because Tito wanted him. He was always a pesky player playing against us on the (formerly known as devil) rays. Of course, as we’ve just witnessed, the rays can be a pain-in-the-ass no matter who’s playing for them. At this point we’ve become conditioned to groan at the mere sight of the man, but chances are strong that he will turn it around just like Drew has.

    As for Crisp, I believe he’s considered a great value for a veteran contract! Many people feel he ought to have been awarded the gold glove last year. His offensive numbers have not been up to career standards here in Boston, but he’s raking well so far this year. If he could just stay out on the f’n field for two weeks straight without straining his *whatever it is this time* we could probably work out a good haul for him.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    The problem is, when JD Drew turns it around, he’ll OPS in the high .900s. If Lugo does, we can expect an OPS in the .600s. At that rate, we really would have been better off keeping Alex Gonzalez.

    I agree that Terry was in on the Lugo man-crush, but I still don’t know what it is about him that so beguiled Tito and Theo. I suspect Dark Magic.

  3. Coley – so now we’re calling players dicks because of the agent they choose to represent them, and putting them on the same level as wife beaters? that really makes sense, considering Boras represents half the MLB. okay…so guy A chooses agent who can get him the best deal possible from the best team, and as far as we know, does not beat his wife. guy B slams girlfriend’s head into car hood. hmm, think I’d rather have guy A on my team.

  4. “As for Coco Crisp, Peter Gammons reported today that Billy Beane called Theo AGAIN on Friday to beg for him.”

    seriously?!? how likely Sarah do you think this is to go thru? and who would we get? please don’t tell me some “underrated” 45 year old washed up former 1st baseman “who can learn to be a catcher” but had a lot of walks back in May 2002.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    That’s a really interesting question, Lyndsay. Theo seems to want a lot for Coco, since whoever becomes Boston’s 4th OF is likely to get a fair amount of playing time with Drew and Manny at the corners. But Billy Beane is no dummy, either.

    The acquisition of Frank Thomas makes Mike Sweeney expendable, but Sweeney isn’t someone the Red Sox want or need. The A’s have a couple of decent fourth OFs in Rajai Davis and Chris Denorfia, but Oakland would have to give Boston someone else too, since a one-for-one swap of OFs makes little sense. If Oakland really wants Crisp, I could see them giving Boston one of their backup OFs and a prospect. One problem with trying to predict a deal is that Oakland is in a tricky situation—they’re playing to win but also playing to rebuild. If they start losing and appear out of contention, however, this could become a much bigger deal, with Crisp and some of Boston’s good prospects going to Oakland for a starting pitcher. This becomes even more likely if Jon Lester continues to struggle and if Bartolo Colon opts out of his deal (he’s said he won’t, but as above, you never know). Oakland starter Joe Blanton is rumored to be on the trading block, but he won’t be cheap.

    Otherwise, I don’t see a great match between what Boston needs and what Oakland has. For the future, the Red Sox would probably most like to acquire a catching prospect (which the A’s don’t really have) and a 3B prospect (ditto).

  6. Boston is not looking for outfielders in return for Crisp. They plan to use Kielty and/or Moss as a fourth outfielder. (Moss is drawing interest of his own but is currently unavailable for trade until Kielty makes it back from hand surgery.)

    Teams have been playing the waiting game here, hoping to corner the sox in a roster crunch or disgruntled player situation. That seems unlikely to happen in my opinion, and I’m sure we’ll see interest from more than just the A’s as the season wears on and injuries take their toll. Theo will be looking for prospects and/or pitching in return for Crisp, and he’s proving he can hold out for good value.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    Rebecca, I agree with you except for one point. Kielty and Moss are both okay as 5th OFs, but I don’t think either of them is the 4th OF Boston needs. Kielty isn’t someone I’d want playing very much. Moss has an okay bat and he’s fine defensively, but there’s nothing remarkable about him. I think a more valuable option for a fourth OF is someone who can be a defensive replacement or a pinch runner. If Boston deals Crisp, I think they would probably look to pick up a budget version of him from somewhere, if not necessarily in the same deal—a guy with some defensive prowess, a fair bit of speed, and not a lot of offense.

  8. Sarah Green says:

    Ooh, update (sort of):

    “Theo and I have talked, and knowing the type of players he wants in return, it’s not something we’re willing to do right now.”
    –Padres general manager Kevin Towers, on his interest in Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp.

  9. well, Beane is also known to get a lot of different teams involved and somehow end up with the guy he wants – I couldn’t even draw on a map for you some of those trades from Moneyball. So I could see some sort of multi-team deal going thru before the trading deadline that the Sox get to throw Crisp into, if Billy Beane has any say in it.

    they definitely have TOO many 4th outfielder options right now, so I definitely can’t see them trading for another one. Jed Lowrie and Sean Casey have both the infield corners covered, if they want to play Lowrie as a bench guy for a season to see how it goes. I don’t see them looking for a star reliever, seeing the failure that was Gagne. the best thign for them would be a backup catcher – God forbid they should ever have to use little Pedro behind the plate. and they should really look to get that thru a multi-team trade.

    Sarah – any “word on the street” about Lugo? I would love to get trade rumors started on him, you know, just to plant the seed…what I would give to have Theo’s ear, and just maybe once a day casually mention, “so, I hear so-and-so may be available, and they are really interested in Lugo.”

  10. Sarah Green says:

    Alas. No one is interested in Julio Lugo. No one. [Sobs]

  11. John Siudut says:

    You are dirt Sarah Green. The way you speak about sport, about baseball and about people is thoroughly disgusting.

    You know nothing. You are not a paid baseball analyst or on Boston’s payroll. You nothing of what happens in the clubhouse, in the general managers office and you don’t know anyone of great significance which is why you sound like a fool. You read scouting reports by men who are paid to watch young men play a game. And then you try to make it sound like you have all the answers.

    Dark magic…good one. You are not a fan of baseball nor could you be a real fan of the Boston Red Sox.

    There are Julio Lugo fans.

    As:
    There are Manny Ramirez fans.
    There are David Ortiz fans.
    There are JD Drew fans.
    There are Coco Crisp fans.
    There are Dustin Pedroia fans.
    There are Youk fans.
    There are Jason Varitek fans.
    There are Jacoby Ellsbury fans.
    There are Terry Francona fans.
    There are plentiful fans for every single person on the team and in the clubhouse….

    All of these players make up the great team that won a spectacular championship and I hope they win more…and they will.

    I am a fan of Julio Lugo and I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

    Your fandom is sleek, snappy and full of bunk.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    Wow John, that was a thorough ripping even more over the top than my over-the-top ripping of Julio Lugo! [Golf clap]

    You can insult my writing, but I defy you, sir, to question my fandom. That’s just low.

  13. melissa says:

    John,
    I’ve got one for your list:

    There are Sarah Green fans.

    I love Sarah and her hatred for Julio Lugo.
    It’s great to hear a fan admit they detest a player even though he’s on their favorite team.

  14. Nick Kapur says:

    I like how John says that “the way” Sarah “talks about people” is “disgusting” the *very sentence* after he wrote “You are dirt Sarah Green.” Nice one there.

    The fact is, anyone who is actually a “Julio Lugo fan” has clearly never actually watched Julio Lugo play actual baseball.

  15. Dirty Water says:

    Kudos, John. Sharp yet appropriate.

    To all you Boston ‘fans’ who believe your shallow criticisms have merit I’d like to remind you that you’re labeling Theo a buffoon by doing so.

    I’m a Lugo fan, or more to the point – I’m a Theo fan.

  16. what the hell is that brown streak on his left shoulder of his unifrom?

  17. Fans neeed to remember that Julio Lugo played great down the September stretch run in 2007. He also was outstanding both in the field and at the plate during the 2007 ALDS, ALCS, and World Series. Julio Lugo was an important part of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox.

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