The Houston Astros have reassigned starting shortstop Julio Lugo. Lugo was arrested last night for "hitting his wife in the face and slamming her head on a car hood" before the 'Stros 11-1 loss to the Braves (in which he went 0-for-2).
At best Lugo could be demoted to the minors if he clears waivers. But GM Gerry Hunsicker's comments seem to point towards his release:
"We felt it was in Julio's best interest and in the best interest of the organization to put this situation behind us as quickly as possible and let Julio get on with his career elsewhere.''
Lugo is batting .246 with only 2 RBI in 65 at-bats. That projects to about 12 for a full season. He also is slugging below .300 and has a .630 OPS.
He has never been close to the league average batter, with OPS's 77 to 90% of the park-adjusted league average. He at least stole 22 bases his rookie year. This year he has 2. Add to that an, at best, average defense (a range factor of 4.13 vs. the league average of 4.50), and you have a poor major-league player.
Lugo made it easy for the Astros to do what they did. But it's not like they have a hot prospect ready to take Lugo's place. Journeyman Jose Vizcaino along with his .125 inherits the job. I wouldn't worry about him though: He took over last year when Lugo got injured and outplayed him anyway. And Vizcaino didn't get arrested in doing it.