Versatile right-handed pitcher Seth Lugo is a free agent for the first time and is already drawing plenty of interest. According to reports, more than a dozen teams have reached out to the 33-year-old. However, his former team, the New York Mets, has yet to contact him.
With the state of Major League pitching, it is not surprising that Seth Lugo is drawing such interest. The more significant news is some teams are considering using Seth Lugo as part of their rotation, something he has not done in a few seasons.
As a Reliever
Seth Lugo has worked mainly in short relief for the past two years. Lugo did not work more than two innings this past campaign, regardless of whether he entered in the middle or late innings. He went 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and three saves in 65 innings over 62 appearances.
Since moving full-time to the bullpen, Seth Lugo has a 3.56 ERA with a sharp 26.6% strikeout rate, a 7.9% walk rate, and a 44% ground-ball rate. Seth Lugo’s fastball averaged slightly less than 95 mph during this stretch, and the spin rate on his curveball consistently rates among the best in the league.
Generally speaking, Lugo has been a quietly effective member of the Mets’ bullpen. In exactly 300 career innings as a reliever, the eight-year pro has posted an ERA of 2.91 and limited opponents to a .212 batting average with a nearly 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. So, with such success, why do teams want him in their starting rotation?
As a Starter
Seth Lugo owns an excellent repertoire of four-to-five pitches, and teams may think that he may be able to have success in lengthier outings. Like he did earlier in his career, before struggling in 2020, the final year he opened a game on the mound.
Seth Lugo posted a 13-9 record in his first 33 starts over his first three campaigns while recording an ERA of under 4.00 as a starter. He has not pitched more than 102 innings in any season.
Lugo primarily relies on his fastball and curveball. He also throws a sinker and occasionally mixes in a slider and changeup.
It is still too early in free agency to know what teams are genuinely interested in Lugo’s services. But the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are two possible teams.
It appears that the Cubs could be more interested in Lugo as a reliever. Chicago does have some quality arms in the pen but may want to add a few veterans to the mix.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are looking to revamp their starting rotation though they also need to upgrade their bullpen. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets eventually got involved in discussions to bring Lugo back. The Mets have a lot of work to plug their holes in the rotation and bullpen, as they have several other free-agent pitchers.