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Mets reliever Edwin Diaz could have some challengers for the closer job

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets celebrates after the Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 2-0 on Opening Day at Nationals Park on March 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets celebrates after the Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 2-0 on Opening Day at Nationals Park on March 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 31: Seth Lugo #67 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on August 31, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets defeated the Phillies 6-3. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Case for Seth Lugo

While Diaz looks to enter Spring Training as the incumbent closer, if he should faultier, the next man up looks to be Seth Lugo, who has been arguably the team’s top reliever over the past few years.

Despite still considering himself to be a starting pitcher, Lugo has enjoyed a lot of success out of the bullpen for the Mets. He recorded a 2.66 ERA in 101.1 innings in 2018, and a 2.70 ERA in 80.0 innings in 2019, and when Diaz was originally demoted from the closer role, Lugo was the next choice for New York, and he didn’t disappoint.

Particularly late in the year, he had a perfect ERA in the month of July, going 12.2 innings without allowing a run, and a 1.29 ERA in 14.0 innings in September.

With this consistency for the Mets in recent years, Lugo is the ideal candidate to be slotted at closer in the event new manager Luis Rojas decides to replace Diaz in the role.

Again, while he wants to start, he has been one of the league’s top relief pitchers over the past two seasons, and with not much downside to his game, Lugo looks to enter 2020 as one of the premier set up men, but if the need arises, he could be a very capable closer as well.

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