Former Mets righty Seth Lugo has drawn interest from a wide range of clubs this winter, hoping to land an opportunity as a starting pitcher wherever he signs. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the Dodgers and Padres are the likeliest landing spots at this point, though the Nationals have been involved to a lesser degree. Ken Rosenthal and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, meanwhile, reported over the weekend that the Dodgers are in the mix for Lugo and would indeed likely build him up as a starter.
Between Los Angeles and San Diego, the latter has a clearer path to rotation innings, if the Padres indeed have interest in giving Lugo a look as a starting pitcher. Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Nick Martinez are expected to occupy the top four spots in the rotation, but the No. 5 spot is generally unsettled. Former top prospect Adrian Morejon seems the likeliest option, but Ryan Weathers, Pedro Avila and Jay Groome are all on the 40-man roster as well.
Over in Los Angeles, it’s a slightly more crowded situation. Clayton Kershaw re-signed on a one-year deal, rejoining Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May in a projected rotation that was largely rounded out by the Dodgers’ recent signing of Noah Syndergaard. That said, both May and Gonsolin missed substantial time due to injury in 2022. May missed the first three-plus months recovering from 2020 Tommy John surgery, while Gonsolin was slowed late in the year by forearm troubles. He still made 24 starts and tallied 130 1/3 innings, but May logged just 30 regular-season frames and will probably have his workload monitored. Prospects like Ryan Pepiot, Bobby Miller and Michael Grove could provide depth even without an additional veteran signing, though.
As for the Nats, while Heyman suggests they’re no longer prominent players for Lugo, he’d be a similar signing to their recent addition of Trevor Williams. Beyond the fact that both Williams and Lugo pitched for the Mets this past season, both have been used as relievers recently but carry a starter’s repertoire, making them intriguing buy-low options in that regard. That said, the Nats now have Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Williams and youngsters MacKenzie Gore, Josiah Gray and Cade Cavalli all as rotation options.
Lugo, 33, has been shuttled between the Mets’ rotation and bullpen multiple times in his career but has been primarily a reliever in 2021-22. He’s notched a solid 3.56 ERA with a 26.6% strikeout rate, 7.9% walk rate and 44% ground-ball rate in that time, averaging 94.4 mph with his fastball and generally sitting at or near the top of the league in terms of spin rate on his curveball. More broadly, Lugo has long been a quality member of the relief corps in Queens; he’s totaled exactly 300 innings out of the bullpen and boasts a 2.91 ERA in that time.
That said, Lugo has a four-seamer, sinker, curveball, slider and seldom-used changeup — a deep arsenal for a relief pitcher that could lend itself to a return to the rotation. He was hit hard working out of the rotation in the shortened 2020 season, but Lugo has a 4.35 ERA in 194 career innings as a starter. He’s missed more bats out of the bullpen, as one might expect, but his walk rate as a starter is slightly better than as a reliever and Lugo’s opponents haven’t seen dramatic spikes in production when facing him for a second or even third time in a game.
In addition to the Dodgers, Padres and Nats, Lugo has also reportedly drawn at least some degree of interest from the Angels, Red Sox and Tigers.
Padres will outbid the dodgers by giving lugo a 13yr contract.
That was funny last week.
Never gets old, because it was never young.
Thats what I love about them College girls. The older I get they stay the same age.
It’s weird to me there is so much coverage, speculation and analysis leading up to the signing of a relief pitcher with so so numbers.
Is he really gonna get more than a year or two for more than $5-6M a year?
I see him getting 2 years/$10.5M w/ a $500k buyout on a $6M club option… at best.
That seems quite low to me for this years market
Chris Martin 2/17.5mil
Lugo would probably be in that range at worst.
If he went with LAD, why wouldn’t he accept the role as the 2023 reclamation project, so he can get starter IP and boost his stock to springboard from a pillow contact — or maybe have an opt out after 1 year?
A Chris Martin-type contract would be low-hanging fruit.
He wants to be a backend starter, so it’s possible he receives a starters salary.
Since the Padres are on everybody, this is an easy one, he’s going to the Dodgers.
If he was only going to get $5-6 million a year over two years, the Mets would have already re-signed him.
Lugo is a lot better than his detractors claim. High SO rate, BB rate under control. No long-ball issues. Throws strikes. If the Dodgers are after their next Heaney or Anderson, Lugo could be their guy.
He has 5 pitches also. That’s a starters arsenal.
The dodgers will probably trim that down to 4 and change his pitch mix.
2/20MM opt out after the first year is my guess.
Ooops well LAD won’t be.
Gotta say – a few years ago Lugo was just terrific and consistent as a set up man and occasionally closer. Nasty breaking ball. Haven’t observed him to be that sharp last 2 seasons. But the market is hot and quality high leverage relief is in demand.
deGrom Texas Ranger
The Rangers could afford him if they didn’t throw 20 million down the drain on Martin Perez.
I prefer the Padres win out on this one
Lugo is way overrated here. If he was any good the Mets would’ve kept him. Same with Bassett.
How is he in the same boat as Bassitt? Mets didn’t keep Bassitt because he was too expensive, not because he wasn’t any good. Instead of $21 million a year for Bassitt, they gambled on $15 million a year for Senga. Bassitt was a rock for the Mets rotation last year.
Cohen buys anyone he wants.
Both reached free agency and had up to 30 teams to choose from, with the Mets simply being one of the many. They didn’t have control over whether either was “kept.”
The Angels will only need a sixth starter about a dozen times if they stick to their current plan.
Lugo could get those starts and still get some bullpen work. Seems about perfect.
But we’ll get outbid by both SD and LA.
I’d rather save that money and go with Canning or Barria as the swingman/6th starter and go after Jean Segura to play SS.
Segura would be nice but he can’t cover SS.
If the money’s the same, I don’t know why any mid tier starter would pick San Diego over LA. Mark Prior already has a history of getting the most of guys with average stuff and getting them paid for their next contract.
So overrated. He’s a long relief guy with decent stuff, control and movement but not a whole lot better than league average. Maybe he can be a starter but I highly doubt it.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post fabricates that the Dodgers and Padres are the likeliest landing spots at this point, though the Nationals have been involved to a lesser degree.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
I remember when they acquired a group of older star players in 1998 and made a unsuccessful World Series run. That team included one of my favorite players in Wally Joyner who had a amazing swing. Hard for me to get into the current team since it includes Machado and Tatis. I’m not really a fan of the showboating players and that includes RAJ on my favorite team as well. Yes I know I am old and get off my lawn!
FredMcGriff for the HOF
@zeus. I think Bassitt is plenty good myself and glad he and deGrom have left the NL East. Lugo is solid as well if you’re looking at him as a relief pitcher.
We are down to Seth Luigi being the hot topic for FA news?
Or even more, it’s a big deal that Padres and Dodgers are fighting over him!
That said, a back end starter is needed for both teams.
There are many FA still available, Lugo is getting coverage as interest heats up. There are no more nine-figure FAs out there.
Lugo on a similar Nick Martinez 2022 deal where he can opt out from San Diego and should be good…
Love how the Julio Teheran minor league (1/6 mil mlb) signing by Padres hasn’t been explored more… Teheran >Avila/Morejon or Groome potentially the former 2x All Star could be the “steal” of the offseason
What is more surprising. That the Dodgers are even trying to sign someone. They have been stingy this offseason.
I wonder if they will have any ball girls or people cleaning the restrooms.
I read that as the ballgirls will be cleaning the restrooms. Sometimes my imagination gets the better of me.
Padres are likely to go with a 6-man rotation again like last year, meaning at least thru May. Comments especially from Melvin how that contributed to health and longer starts, and kept the pen fresh thru the entire season. So even with Lugo, they still plan to see what they have in Morejon et. al. The 6-man is a factor to consider when analyzing their pitching staff.
Gavin Stone is closer to being ready then Bobby Miller.
Hell, if Stone does what he was doing all last season- dominating in A, AA and then AAA ball- this Spring, he may win a rotation spot outright.
LA should add a LH on the bench (Peralta, maybe) and try and find upgrades/depth for SS/CF (Bryan Reynolds, Amed Rosario, Taylor Walls) before signing another vet SP….
Lugo is a max spin guy on his curve. It’s really good. FB can ride high in the strike zone.
‘Don’t know if he’s got the stamina to keep those spin rates up. If he can for 5+ innings, then he’ll be really valuable.
But he really can’t. That’s already been proven. Solid reliever, not a starter.
Failed starter with enough pitches to get by for 2 or 3 innings, plump up his numbers just enough to land a decent sized FA deal. That being said, good for him. Wish I had a tenth of the talent to do that myself.
My guess is 12 yrs/$11 mil
Why would anyone roll the dice on this guy as a starter? He is 33 years old and hasn’t pitched “a lot” of innings in 5 years.
Wooped em again Josie