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Mets: Three players to consider trading before Opening Day

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 17: Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets gets his bat ready while standing in the on-deck circle during the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 17, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Both the Diamondbacks and Mets are wearing blue in recognition of Father's Day. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 17: Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets gets his bat ready while standing in the on-deck circle during the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 17, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Both the Diamondbacks and Mets are wearing blue in recognition of Father's Day. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA, GA. – MAY 28: Seth Lugo #67 of the New York Mets throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Field on May 28, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Originally drafted by the Mets in the 34th round of the 2011 draft, Seth Lugo made his major league debut in July of 2016. While he was a starting pitcher in the minors, he was originally called up to the majors to add depth in the bullpen.

After several injuries to the Mets starting rotation in 2016, Lugo found himself being placed into the starting rotation, where he put together a string of excellent starts. He finished the year appearing in 17 games for New York, making 8 starts and finished the season with a 2.67 ERA.

In 2017, he began Spring Training competing with Robert Gsellman for the job as the fifth starter, but suffered an injury and missed the first several months of the season. He returned to the team and re-entered the rotation in June of 2017, and finished the year appearing in 19 games, 18 of which were starts, and posted a 4.71 ERA, far higher than the season before.

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In 2018, the Mets began the year with a healthy rotation and Lugo was forced into the bullpen, where he was used mainly as a reliever for the majority of the season, along with the occasional spot start.

As a reliever last season, Lugo was very effective. He appeared in 54 total games for New York, including 5 starts, logging a 2.66 ERA and 3 saves over the course of 101.1 innings pitched.

Since he had such a successful season last year, and will not be a free agent until 2023, you may be wondering why I am suggesting the Mets should trade him.

Unlike Travis d’Arnaud and Todd Frazier, whom I am suggesting they deal in order to clear salary, Lugo does not have a high price tag and is a player who has yet to reach his full potential, but is being blocked from being a starting pitcher.

This is due to the Mets having several young, blue chip pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz currently locks in the rotation, and the veteran Jason Vargas slated to earn $8 million this coming year.

Even when those players missed time because of injury, the Mets opted to leave Lugo in the bullpen as a reliever and have rookie pitcher Corey Oswalt fill in starts that the other pitchers were missing due to injury. This was not due to Lugo’s ability, but rater that he was one of the few consistent relievers last season and the Mets didn’t want to mess up the bullpen.

Lugo has stated in the past that he would prefer to be a starting pitcher, and stated last season that he was frustrated that the Mets were not giving him the opportunity to do so.

He has proven that he can be an effective pitcher in the league, and his talent and potential is arguably being wasted in his current role. It could be worthwhile for the Mets to pursue a trade including Lugo in order to address another need the team currently has, such as a traditional set up man or another back up infielder, or alternatively, restock their minor league farm system.

As a player, Lugo has a lot more value than Frazier or d’Arnaud, as he is coming off a very productive season and will still be under team control for the next 4 seasons. Last season’s AL West Champion Astros reportedly had interest in acquiring Lugo earlier this offseason.

The Mets will be entering this Spring Training with several relief pitchers competing for only one or two openings in the bullpen, meaning that the Mets would have a few options to replace Lugo should the Mets decide to deal him.

In a potential trade, the Mets could receive either prospects or other major league players to fill another need on the team. Additionally, Lugo along with either d’Arnaud or Frazier could be packaged in a deal together, with Lugo as the center piece of the deal and the other as a bonus for New York to help clear salary, helping to kill two birds with one stone.

As for teams who could be interested in trading for Lugo, the Angels are in need of starting pitching, as well as the previously mentioned Astros. If Houston does not re-sign Dallas Keuchel, then Lugo could once again be an option for them as a fifth starter.

Next. 2019 Mets player predictions

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Are there any other players you think the Mets should explore the possibility of trading? Comment them down below.

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