The Red Sox designated Julio Lugo for assignment yesterday, pulling the plug halfway through a poorly-timed and probably ill-conceived contract given out at the high of the free agent boom.

Of course, for all the flak, Lugo has still managed to hit .284 this year, with a solid .352 OBP. His range at shortstop has diminished dramatically, though.

Why does this matter? Because the Cubs are sniffing around.

According to a baseball source, at least three teams have indicated some interest in Lugo. The teams are the Mets, Cardinals and Cubs, according to the source.

Makes sense given the low cost, and the fact that middle infield backups Jeff Baker and Aaron Miles are not good, and injured and not good, respectively. And who knows, maybe Lugo steps up his game in another city – something he claims he’s ready to do – and takes over the starting shortstop job from Ryan Theriot, allowing Theriot to shift over to 2B, a much more natural position for his abilities.

Lugo’s biggest problem has been, perhaps, a slow recovery from off-season knee surgery. It’s possible that he could be a productive player yet this season, given a little more time. The Red Sox simply did not have that time. Maybe another team will.

But do the Cubs?