Farewell to the glare. We hardly knew ye or your crazy eyes.
The Cardinals have agreed to deal utility infielder Julio Lugo to the Baltimore Orioles for either a player to be named later or cash considerations. The deal is still awaiting final approval from the commissioner's office, indicating the amount of money changing hands is potentially more than $1 million, which is unsurprising considering the Red Sox are still paying all but the league minimum of Lugo's 2010 salary.
The Orioles are looking for insurance in the middle infield, primarily at second base as Brian Roberts is fighting some minor back issues.
This isn't all that surprising a move, considering how little playing time there looked to be for Lugo here in St. Louis. Honestly, I'm a little surprised this didn't happen sooner; as soon as the Cards signed Felipe Lopez Lugo became expendable. The two players offer very similar skillsets, with Lopez adding the ability to hit from either side of the plate. In fact, John Mozeliak himself said on Bernie Miklasz's radio program that Lugo expressed a desire for the Cardinals to find him a different place to play once Lopez was brought in and the writing on the wall became clear.
One thing this definitely means is the Cardinals are more confident in the health of Brendan Ryan's wrist than they were at the outset of camp. If there were concerns Ryan could miss much time due to lingering issues, I have to believe they would have kept Lugo around as additional insurance. (Of course, Julio Lugo really shouldn't ever be allowed to play shortstop at this point in his career, so take that for whatever it's worth.) Personally I would still like to see Tyler Greene make the club as a backup at short, but that doesn't appear to be the plan.
It does concern me that this deal essentially means we're going to be seeing way more of Nick Stavinoha on the roster than I would like, but Tony La Russa seems to have fallen in love with the guy. Not surprising, of course; the guy looks like a bigger fatter Aaron Miles and plays like the Ghost of John Gall. I'm a little surprised La Russa hasn't proposed already.
The identity of the PTBNL at this point is really anyone's guess; when I first heard of this deal I checked the Orioles' roster and thought Cla Meredith made a lot of sense considering how much the right side of the Cards' bullpen has struggled this spring, but the fact it's a PTBNL makes me think it's more likely to be a minor leaguer. The Cards traded away Luke Gregerson and Jess Todd both as PTBNL's; it would be nice to get a similar quality of player back.
Either way, this is probably a good deal for all involved. Lugo will receive more playing time in Baltimore than he would have here, the Cards move what was basically an extraneous player and open up a roster spot, and the Orioles get a useful utility guy to back up an area of concern.