FanPost

Byrnes for Lugo - Please, dear Lord

Julio Lugo was just DFA'ed by the Red Sox yesterday, and this has re-brought up the idea of the Red Sox and Diamondbacks swapping crappy contracts of underachieving players by swapping the error-prone Lugo for our own suck artist, Eric Byrnes.  With the news of the DFA, this now puts a 10-day timer on the deal to see if it can get done, and I, for one, pray that this happens.  Now, I know people are thinking "why would we want a guy who was just DFA'ed?"  I'm glad you asked, legitimately-interested-reader:..

1)  Lugo can hit.  He was hitting .284 at the time of his DFA, with an OBP of .352 and SLG of .367.  His .719 OPS would be good for ninth on the team, behind Upton, Reynolds, Romero (sample size), Flip, Montero, Drew, Parra, and Snyderman, as well as a good .99 greater than Byrnes' .620.  His OBP would be fifth on the team, behind Sample Size, Upton, Flip, and (surprisingly, to me) Snyderman.  That bat would play somewhere in our lineup.

2)  His power numbers are deceiving.  Playing at Fenway, it is MUCH better to be left-handed and trying to pull a ball to the gap than being right-handed and trying to do the same.  300-foot right field foul line, or the Green Monster?  You choose.  This is why David Ortiz made a career of pull power.  Well, this and [insert steroids joke here].

3)  He could play everyday this season if Whitesell fails.  Byrnes is already a fourth outfielder behind three young guys, so giving him playing time is useless.  Whitesell's 28, and if he can't prove quickly that he can get the job done, he's gonna find himself as a backup.  So, for all the worry about Lugo's defense, moving him away from shortstop to the easiest position to field in baseball, first base, could only help.  And he's 6'1'', so it's not like he's a midget out there at first.  Otherwise, he'd be a better backup option than Augie in the infield.  (all of this, of course, is assuming we wouldn't simply make him a backup for the season and be content with this - for all the PT they gave Byrnes, I think the organization has problems with paying over $10M to a guy and not having him play regularly, this is just a way to say that we could let him play).

4)  Look ahead.  After the season, Flip Lopez will leave for more money, and we'll be left without a second baseman.  If we can turn Byrnes' $15M salary obligation into a guy that can play second base for us next season, this saves us the $5M it would take to go out and get another stop-gap guy, unless you're thinking Rusty Ryal is ready for the big stage (which he isn't), as well as the extra roster spot that could be used for someone useful.  Money's tight as it is, so why not pull a slick maneuver and save a little?  Second is a much easier position to field than shortstop, where he played all of his games this season.  It's why Flip moved there a couple years ago, and Lugo could do the same (and similarly, possibly, maybe revitalize his career a bit).

5)  Lugo's reputation.  For those who remember, Lugo put up some good numbers in Tampa Bay before bolting for the dollar signs in Beantown.  In his last 73 games with the then-Devil Rays in 2006 (before a trade to the Dodgers and the onset of suckitude), he hit over .300, and had an OPS of .871.  Then he was dealt from obscurity in TB to one big market, L.A., and then signed with another big market, Boston.  With both of those teams, he has gained a distinct reputation for shrinking in big markets under pressure.  So what could possibly be better for him than a trade to the NL West shelter from media coverage, and one of the least-covered markets in all of baseball, Arizona?  We're not going to be competing for a championship anytime soon, so why not bring the guy into a low-pressure situation and let him play?  He'd absolutely be more valuable to us than the guy we're giving up.

6)  AL to NL.  We've been through this.  AL lineups are traditionally more stacked than NL lineups, so AL rotations are typically better than NL rotations in order to make up for this.  Lugo would get the chance to face the mediocre fringe-5th starters of the NL, and would enjoy the stat-boost offered by this.

If you're Boston, the situation is pretty simple.  The only real question is whether or not the Sox would want to take a flier on a guy who had 20 HR/50 SB two years ago and an OPS over .800, and see if he couldn't get his hamstrings back and get back to form.  They know Lugo isn't going to work for them, so why not see if a change of scenery would work for Byrnes?  They know the guy's not going to shy away from the national stage, and he's got the personality to handle Boston's media, as evidenced by his almost-excessive love for the TV camera.  Further, the guy plays pretty solid defense (aside from the occasional SportsCenter Not-Top-10 play from the entire first half of the season), so it's not like they'd be getting rid of their frustrating errors only to get more back.

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