Dec. 5: The Red Sox are “stepping up [their] efforts” to bring Lugo to Boston, reports Heyman, who notes that the Braves are among the four to five other clubs still in the mix for the righty. Cotillo tweets the Red Sox are “expected” to make a formal offer to Lugo soon, if they haven’t already.
Dec. 4: Seth Lugo is a popular target in the middle tiers of free agency. The Tigers (prior to signing Kenta Maeda) and Dodgers have been publicly tied to the right-hander, who has reportedly drawn interest from upwards of half the league.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post adds a few more clubs to the mix, reporting that the Braves are among the teams showing interest. Heyman adds the Reds, Red Sox and Diamondbacks have also been involved this offseason — although it’s not specified whether Cincinnati’s interest predated their two-year contract with Lugo’s former San Diego teammate Nick Martinez.
The newly revealed suitors on Lugo are all sensible. Each has found themselves in the market for starting pitching. The Braves made a run at Aaron Nola before he returned to the Phillies. They subsequently signed Reynaldo López, whom they’re considering stretching back to rotation work. Atlanta also acquired Marco Gonzales in last night’s trade with the Mariners but reportedly plan to flip the southpaw elsewhere.
Boston has been in the market for multiple starting pitchers. They’re involved on top-of-the-market options like Jordan Montgomery and Yoshinobu Yamamoto but are surely identifying targets at various tiers of free agency. Chief baseball officer Craig Breslow reiterated this afternoon that the rotation was the Sox’s top priority (relayed by Chris Cotillo of MassLive).
The D-Backs have made no secret of their desire for a mid-rotation starter to step in behind Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly and alongside Brandon Pfaadt. Arizona general manager Mike Hazen suggested this evening that acquisition was likelier to come via free agency than trade, although he unsurprisingly indicated they’re exploring both avenues (link via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com).
Cincinnati added Martinez last week, bringing in the veteran righty to join an otherwise young starting staff. There’s still room for more innings considering the injury history and/or limited MLB track records of players like Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Andrew Abbott, Graham Ashcraft and Brandon Williamson. The Reds have also left open the possibility of keeping Martinez in a swing/multi-inning relief role, although it’d be an odd decision to guarantee him $13MM annually over two seasons if they didn’t anticipate him earning a spot in the rotation.
Lugo, entering his age-34 campaign, is reportedly seeking a three-year deal. He has a strong case for one on the heels of a 3.57 ERA over 26 starts for the Padres.