Free Agent Julio Lugo Bio
During this short bio, the focus is going to be primarily on Lugoâ€™s offensive output. His defensive output is far above average, with Julio fielding about .50 points above league average range factor at the shortstop position over the course of the past four seasons.
Julio Lugo (11/16/75) was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 43rd round of the 1994 entry draft. After taking five seasons to get to AA, Lugo then advanced rapidly up the system, spending only 24 games in AAA before getting his shot with the big club. 2000 marked Lugoâ€™s first season in the bigs, where he essentially split time between second and short. Continuing a trend that developed throughout his minor league career, Lugo had trouble with his K: BB ratio (93/37). Despite this, his first season was one of his best, setting career highs in slugging (.431) and OPS (.777).
In 2001 he was given the full time gig at short, and he responded by scoring a career high 93 runs. But he experienced a drastic decline in OPS, falling to .698.
The emergence of Adam Everett relegated Lugo to only 88 games played the next season, making him expendable for the 2003 season.
Having logged enough days on a MLB roster, Lugo found himself eligible for arbitration in the off-season. Avoiding Arbitration, the Astors signed Lugo to a one year, $1,575,000 deal in the off-season. After domestic issues, the Astros gave Lugo his outright release on May 9th , roughly five weeks into the season. Six days later, Lugo signed a two year deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Lugo played 112 games for the Devil Rays that season, having steady but unspectacular production.
Coming into the 2004 season, Julio was finally penciled in as the undisputed starter at short for the Devil Rays. Well, what did he produce? Steady but unspectacular numbers, compiling a line of .275/.338/.396. Lugo continued to struggle with his K:BB ratio, (106/54). This would be acceptable for a power hitter, but Julio hit only 7 home runs in over 625 plate appearances. The Devil Rays began sending mixed signals to Lugo during the 2004 season, repeatedly vowing that he was a cornerstone of their future plans, yet drafting a shortstop, BJ Upton, in the first round.
With his two year contract now expiring, Lugo re-upped with the Rays for $3,250,000 in the 2005 off-season. This contract also included a $4.95 million option that the Rays picked up for the 2006 season.
Playing in 158 games, Lugo hit a career high .295. He also began to control his K:BB ratio, lowering it to 72:61. Unfortunately, he slugged only .403 but this number does include 36 doubles.
In 2006 it wasnâ€™t a question of if Julio was going to be traded, but to whom. Unfazed by the daily trade rumors, Lugo tore up the AL in the first half of 2006, with a line of .308/.373/.498, with 12 home runs in just 73 games. Lugo eventually found himself dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers, an odd move to say the least, as Lugo was used by the Dodgers as primarily a 2nd and 3rd baseman. Whether it was the pressure of a playoff race, a new team, or the multitude of positions that he was forced to play, Lugo was downright awful during his stint in LA. His line was a mediocre .219/.278/.267 (0 HR) during 49 games with the Dodgers. His end of the season line, split between the two teams, was .278/.341/.421, with a decline in his K:BB ratio back to pre 2005 levels, with a 76:39 ratio.
For any team looking to aquire Julio in the off-season, they have to ask themselves, who is the real Julio Lugo? Once this has been answered, the next question naturally has to be what is he worth? The talk is that the final price tag should be around $40 million for four years, with the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets (2nd base) all interested in his services.