The New York Mets haven’t even begun camp and we already have an injury. Relief pitcher Seth Lugo will miss six weeks after undergoing elbow surgery due to a “loose body.” The surgery is scheduled for next week which likely means the Mets will not open the season with him on the roster.
Lugo isn’t the most vital part of the puzzle. Starting pitchers and everyday position players are more valuable. What stings about this most is how irreplaceable Lugo is.
The Mets still have an opportunity to add to their bullpen in preparation. Just because free agents are finally signing doesn’t mean they are all employed.
How will the Mets replace Seth Lugo’s unique abilities?
As a multi-inning relief weapon, Lugo is one of the more unique pitchers in baseball. He’s capable of starting games on relatively short notice and can get you more than three outs on a regular basis.
Although seemingly incapable of pitching on back-to-back nights because of his partially torn UCL, there are other relievers out there who can pick up that slack.
Replacing Lugo, however, feels a little tougher. Not many relievers can do what he does and I’m not so sure the Mets should even try to find a guy like him. Instead, they may sign someone of significance or do what the last regime likely would; give Robert Gsellman another chance.
Robert Gsellman has a lot to prove
I don’t think we will ultimately see Gsellman successfully win a bullpen role for the Mets this year, but you never know. Stranger things have happened. Spring training will be his opportunity to showcase to the front office what he is capable of. Based on more recent seasons, it’s not all that much.
Last year, we did see the team give him an opportunity to start. The results were poor and I think many of us wrote him off as a lost cause heading into 2021.
Losing Lugo for any significant amount of time changes things. Even if the Mets aren’t seeking someone similar, they need a player to eat innings. Let’s not forget this is a bullpen that has Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia sitting in there. Combined, they have put together two straight down/injured campaigns. I cannot put any trust in them.
Aside from Gsellman, one of the many starters the Mets added for depth this offseason could help fill the void. Sam McWilliams, Jerad Eickhoff, and Joey Lucchesi may all slot in as relievers depending upon what else the Mets do.
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There’s a reason why the Mets went out and added more pitchers this winter than they knew what to do with. It’s moments like this terrible news about Lugo.