After shoring up their rotation with the acquisition of Carlos Carrasco, the New York Mets are reportedly planning to use Seth Lugo, who made some starts in 2020 as a last resort option during a depth crisis, in his more familiar role: the bullpen.
In the past, Lugo has repeatedly stated he would like to be in the rotation. However, the numbers suggest that he is a far better reliever than he is a starter. He has been the Mets’ most consistent bullpen weapon since he took the role full-time in 2018.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the “belief and expectation” is that the New York Mets are planning on using Seth Lugo out of the bullpen in 2021.
The Mets were forced to use Lugo in the rotation in 2020, after Marcus Stroman opted out of the season, and Michael Wacha and David Peterson suffered injuries. Noah Syndergaard was already lost for the year in the spring.
The Mets have more depth now
However, Lugo didn’t fare very well. Of course, the sample size is tiny, but in 26.1 innings, he had a 6.15 ERA and batters slashed .296/.350/.556 against him. As a reliever, he put a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 frames, and limited hitters to a .211/.250/.342 line.
Lugo has a 4.35 ERA as a starter, and a 2.53 mark as a reliever. With some uncertainty surrounding Dellin Betances and Brad Brach’s ability to bounce back, the Mets will probably better off sending Lugo to the bullpen.
After acquiring Carrasco, they can afford to do it. They now have Jacob deGrom, Stroman, Carrasco, Peterson, and Steven Matz as the current top five, with Syndergaard joining the group in June or July.
On Thursday, Mets’ president Sandy Alderson explained that “you could say he’s more a bullpen piece because of what we’ve added in the starting rotation. And conversely, you could say that he’s more of a starting pitching piece because of the depth we’ve added in the bullpen.”
However, per Heyman, the plan is to return Lugo where he has flourished in his career.