Cubs continuing to lure Lugo
Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com
The Cubs didn't stop pursuing free agent Julio Lugo after signing Mark DeRosa to play second base. And they haven't stopped pursuing Lugo after signing Alfonso Soriano to be a $136 million outfielder, FOXSports.com has learned.
How Lugo would fit into the Cubs' plans remains unclear. He could bat second behind Soriano or first if Soriano hit in the middle of the order. He could start out in center field, then move back to shortstop if the Cubs promoted top prospect Felix Pie and/or parted with shortstop Cesar Izturis, whose contract expires after next season.
Lugo, 31, was a favorite of new Cubs manager Lou Piniella's with the Devil Rays. His athleticism intrigues the Cubs, who could field an electrifying lineup if they added Lugo to a mix that will include Soriano, first baseman Derrek Lee and third baseman Aramis Ramirez — and eventually Pie.
The likelihood of Pie's emergence — possibly in 2007, probably no later than '08 — has caused the Cubs to back off free-agent center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., who would block Pie, 21, if he signed a long-term deal. Lugo, on the other hand, would be versatile enough to return to the infield — that is, if he doesn't sign with the Red Sox to play shortstop or the Mets to second base.
Matthews, 32, could seek a contract in excess of the five-year, $45 million deal that free-agent center fielder Juan Pierre will receive from the Dodgers. The Angels, Giants and Rangers are known to be interested in Matthews. The Phillies, Orioles, Astros, Brewers and Mariners also could be fits.
The Cubs' lineup would be heavily right-handed if they signed Lugo; right fielder Jacque Jones currently is the only accomplished left-handed hitter on their roster. The team, however, could trade for a left-handed hitter or sign one as a free agent.
In the wake of the Soriano signing, starting pitching remains the Cubs' biggest priority. They expect to add two starters, preferably one by trade. They also have the option of converting newly acquired left-hander Neal Cotts into a starter.
to be honest i dont see us getting lugo. He is good defensivly, and has a decent bat, but i dont see us getting that right handed. Unless... you get a floyd to platoon in left, or get a Drew and trade izzy and jones and have lugo play ss.. I just dont see how he makes us better than we are right now.. I say consintrate on pitching!!!