The most obvious and probably most cost-effective choice would be Seth Lugo. He has said in the past that he has personal goals that he wants to reach, and they can only be achieved as a starting pitcher.
Everyone knows about the incredible spin rate on his curveball but there is more to Seth Lugo than that. For example, in his career opponents have a .506 OPS and a 36.0% strikeout rate against his fastball. In addition, in 2019 opponents had a .476 OPS and a 29.0% strikeout rate against his sinker. He has the pitch mix to be able to succeed as a starter and it is just a matter of harnessing what he has learned since he last started games and applying it this time around.
Looking at his past numbers as a starter it may not suggest that he would be a good starter for this team, but I think Lugo has turned a corner in his development. He has furthered his repertoire of pitches since he last was a regular starter and he has worked on mixing up his pitched to keep hitters off-balance. There is also the fact that he does not need to be the ace of the staff since the Mets have Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman ahead of him in the rotation, he just has to be as good as an average fourth starter.
The biggest problem with moving Seth Lugo into the rotation is that it creates a huge void in an already weak bullpen. Lugo was the best reliever the team had in 2019 and he would leave big shoes to be filled for 2020. Could Edwin Diaz or Jeurys Familia step up and fill that void?
It’s possible but it is too risky to just assume that that will happen.
Instead, the Mets would need to comb through the free-agent market for a quality back-end of the bullpen type of reliever or two and the options are limited. Most of the options are either too high-priced like Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen or often injured like Dellin Betances.
I think that in the right scenario and the right additions to the bullpen, moving Seth Lugo into the rotation to fill Wheeler’s spot could be a beneficial move.