Okay, the rumor is Julio Lugo. Lugo is not a bad player, really. Actually, his career statistics are pretty close to Furcal’s and to Jimmy Rollins. (The two most similar players to Lugo using Similarity Scores are Furcal and Rollins. The two most similar to Furcal are Rollins and Lugo. The two most similar to Rollins are Furcal and Lugo.) The difference is that Lugo will be 30 next season, Furcal 28, and Rollins 27. Still, for one year, that’s not a big concern. His defensive statistics are pretty good. But giving up an elite prospect such as Andy Marte for a year of Lugo seems stupid.
So the Braves also have Wilson Betemit, and I don’t see why they can’t commit to him, or at the very least give him a shot while bringing in a veteran neifi (the actual Neifi is wrapped up) as a backup. Here you’ve got a 23-year-old kid who hit .305/.359/.435 in significant part-time duty last year. He played a steady if unspectacular shortstop (fielding percentage of .985, better than the league) last year.
Betemit’s really the only internal solution. Pete Orr can’t throw, Tony Pena Jr. can’t hit, and Kelly Johnson can’t field. (Put them all together and you have Andres Thomas.) The Braves have two top prospects in Elvis Andrus and Yunel Escobar, but neither has even tackled Myrtle Beach yet. If the Braves were to bring in a one-year solution, maybe one of them could be ready for the Furcal fast track to the majors in 2007, but I doubt it. And Lugo seems to be about it available on the shortstop front — though Scheurholz could surprise.