The team's management under Theo Epstein doesn't tend to make emotional decisions, and fan sentiment can only go so far. But I can't help but put Lugo into a category with the other players who, for all their failings, failed most of all to find chemistry here, and faded away.
Julio turned out to be, at best, a mediocre shortstop, with plenty of errors on his resume and less of a stick than was originally promised. Personally, I never understood the appeal of Lugo, whose off-field background was even less appealing than his resume with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (sucky pre-2008 edition).
In many cases Lugo was treated better than some of his predecessors, especially Edgar Renteria. I can remember a couple of times where fans very pointedly cheered him rather than booing when he was struggling.
But even without the fans turning on you, some players clearly don't belong here, and they never fit in, no matter what. And more often than not it starts with that chemistry, and the errors and strikeouts become a case of the chicken and the egg. Even without overt derision, the pressure of playing here and the expectations of playing here don't work for everyone.
Then there is the curious case of Mr. Buchholz, who after throwing a no-hitter was felled by the pressure to follow up. It's been clear since last season, especially so since reports came out Buchholz has been working with a sports therapist, that many of Buchholz's struggles have to do with maturity, mentality and anxiety.
Buchholz is much younger than Lugo - he's still seen as a work in progress while Lugo is what he is. There are no guarantees that Buchholz will ever find himself here, either, but the most crucial difference in his case -- for now -- is that most of us still seem to believe that the pitcher who threw that no-hitter will return someday.
Plus, we like him. We're attached to him, from Theo on down*. And that's that.
If he doesn't get it together eventually, Buchholz probably won't fare better than failures before him. For now, though, it's interesting, this paradox of hope and cynicism, the bright future of one kid, who's sure to be hailed as a hero tonight at the Fens, [Ed. Note - Duh.]and the callous good-riddance for another guy. Hope springs eternal - and finally dies a merciful death, both on the same night.
* Not saying I can't be wrong, but I would be shocked if Buchholz was getting the start tonight because he's trade bait. I've heard Theo talk more amorously about Buchholz than almost any other player. Also, for the Blue Jays to trade Roy Halladay to either Boston or New York would basically be like shooting themselves in the face with their own best weapon. I just don't see it happening.