It's been a weird day. Our very own Hardcore Legend broke this news this morning, only to see it apparently contradicted by Duncan's demotion to Memphis. But after some questions, an apparent La Russa/Mozeliak struggle, and several hours, it's been reconfirmed; here's the P-D link. Bosox on the hook for the remainder of Lugo's enormous contract.
First: Duncan's been a mess for two years now but it's a shame to see his Cardinals tenure end like this. In 2006 and 2007, with the team transitioning out of its MV3 offense and into... well, whatever this is, Duncan was a valuable and completely unexpected second banana. It's safe to say that without him completely outplaying his offensive projections in 2006 that the Cardinals would not have survived the tailspin second half with even an over-.500 record. Without him there wouldn't be a blog entitled What's Chris Duncan Dry-Humping This Week?, if for no other reason than there would be no trophy on which to grind. He played out of position, he battled the preconceptions that come with playing for your dad, and for two years he did it really well.
That said, he's redundant on this team, already reliant on another left-handed lottery ticket—one more recently successful—to pick up their stagnant outfield production. And it's obvious, given the circumstances surrounding this trade, that St. Louis was no longer the right place for him anyway.
Julio Lugo has been a mess since 2006, and according to Fangraphs and Red Sox fans everywhere his defense has taken a nosedive in the last year. But with the Red Sox picking up the tab it's prudent for the Cardinals to shift some low-odds upside from the outfield to the still-nebulous left side of the infield.
UPDATE: Another PTBNL to worry about. Hat tip to azru, who mentioned it in the ground zero fanpost.