There has been a lot of speculation about what the signing of Felipe Lopez means to Julio Lugo. Some are predicting that Lugo may even been traded because the Cardinals dugout isn't big enough for the both of them.
While Lopez will almost certainly mean less at bats for Lugo, that doesn't mean he has less value to the team. It just means they have a better and deeper bench. If Lopez gets starts that Lugo might have otherwise made, then Lugo is going to be available as a pinch hitter or for a double switch later.
I have been in favor of the Cardinals picking up Lopez all winter. But I never thought of him as a replacement for Lugo. I want them both.
MLB.com's Matthew Leach said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa might have some issues with a reduced role. But let's not forget that Lugo is making $9 million, $8.6 million paid by the Red Sox. Lugo's well paid to do whatever the Cardinals ask, meanwhile the Cardinals are getting a pretty good player for the major league minimum. That's hard for the team to give up.
Releasing Lugo would be a waste of money and opportunity. And I don't know what the Cardinals could get for him in trade. Let's not forget that all they had to give up to get him was Chris Duncan, a player the Red Sox released out of Class AAA Pawtucket without so much as a major league look.
If Colby Rasmus gets hurt and David Freese gets off to a bad start? What are the Cardinals going to do? The only other centerfielder they have on the roster is Skip Schumaker, the starting second baseman. So Schu goes to center, Lopez starts at second and Lugo plays third.