Thursday, April 1, 2010

Orioles Acquire Julio Lugo for PTBNL, Michael Aubrey DFA'd

About 9:30 this morning,'s Alden Gonzalez reported that Julio Lugo had been traded by the Cardinals to an American League team. Shortly thereafter, he said it looked like the Orioles. And now, it's official.

The Orioles have acquired SS Julio Lugo from the Cardinals for a player to be named later. With Brian Roberts having battled back problems this spring, the thought of Robert Andino having to play second base on a regular basis must not have set very well with The Warehouse.

The deal, on the surface, is outstanding for Baltimore. (Well, as outstanding an acquisition for a utility infielder can be.) While Lugo will make $9 million this season, Boston is paying that salary. The Orioles will only have to pay him the league minimum for his services. They are giving up no player of consequence. (Really, who was the last PTBNL you can think of that amounted to anything?) Most of all, he will supplant Robert Andino. Andino's bat is so bad, he makes Cesar Izturis look like Brian Roberts. Lugo is no great shakes at the plate anymore but he did OPS .756 in limited time last year. And even if he only OPS's in the mid-.650's, it world's better than Andino.

Where Lugo has dropped off is in the field. His UZR was a pitiful -16.9 in 2009. But while he glove is not what it once was, nobody seems to think that he will be that bad in 2010. CHONE puts him at a 0.6 WAR which means his bat and glove should still be slightly above average.

Michael Aubrey was DFA'd to make room for Lugo on the 40-man roster. Aubrey is unlikely to be claimed by another team and may accept an assignment to Norfolk.

Aubrey may also be added back to the 40-man after the O's rid themselves of Andino. Andino is out of options but Baltimore apparently thinks he has some trade value, maybe for another PTBNL from another team. Either by trade or release, Andino's Oriole career is over.

This move improves the bench and improves the club. Not that Lugo could replace Roberts' production if he goes down for an extended period of time but he makes a better stopgap than the internal options.

And now, I have to redo my WAR spreadsheet AGAIN...

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