In a move that was long overdue, Chris Duncan was finally traded today. The heavily criticized son of the Cardinals' pitching coach and terminally unimpressive Duncan was heaved to the Red Sox, in exchange for struggling shortstop Julio Lugo.
For two long years, Duncan has served as a symbol of both the dangers of nepotism and everything that was wrong with the general management of the St. Louis Cardinals.
He has had a terrible season so far, batting only .230 and generally making fans of the Redbirds cringe whenever he stepped up to the plate.
Julio Lugo isn't exactly a top prospect. The veteran infielder has never contributed too much to the Red Sox, he had knee surgery earlier this season, and has only been starting about every other day since then.
It should be noted that he's also had some pretty serious legal problems earlier in his career. Still, Lugo is batting .284 this season, in 37 games, which is 50 points higher than Duncan's.
I'm not quite sure where the Cards are going to put Lugo. It seems to me that Brendan Ryan has earned the starting shortstop job for this team.
Unless the Cardinals are going to move DeRosa to left field, and switch either Lugo or Ryan to third, I don't see how this guy fits into the current St. Louis roster. I'm also afraid that the trade is going to give ultra crappy Rick Ankiel an increased role in the team when, this year, he's been every bit as horrible at the plate as Duncan.
Still, I can't help, but be a little optimistic about the move that the Cardinals made today.
I always sensed Duncan was unjustifiably one of LaRussa's favorite guys on the team, and it's nice and rare not to see the manager's personal feelings cloud his professional judgement.
I'm not too optimistic about Lugo's place on the team or the prospects for his success. Still, I was so frustrated at Duncan's performance this year, I wouldn't have been upset if they had traded him for some team's bat boy.
Hopefully, this trade will light a small fire under a team that is currently struggling to keep its head above water.