One cannot simply replace Seth Lugo but one may give him company. That’s what Sean Reid-Foley has been for the New York Mets this year. In the absence of Lugo, SRF has stepped into four games, gone more than an inning in each, and held down the fort.
He’s throwing strikes—14 strikeouts in 9.1 innings and zero walks—and after four appearances, he has only given up a single run. The 0.96 ERA he boasts through the early stage of his time with the Mets may be no fluke. Last year, in 6.2 relief innings for the Toronto Blue Jays, he had a similar 1.35 ERA.
I know it’s early. I know it’s unsustainable. I know we should always prepare ourselves for the worst. This doesn’t mean I can’t be totally impressed with how things have gone.
Sean Reid-Foley could allow the Mets to do something different with Seth Lugo
Another note about Reid-Foley’s time with the Blue Jays, in 2019, he went into his final appearance of the season with a 3.00 ERA. One horrible relief appearance in late August which saw the Blue Jays lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-6 decimated his season numbers and lifted his ERA up to 4.26. Respectable for a kid, it derailed what would have been a notable year on his stat sheet.
Reid-Foley has captured my attention with two three-inning, no-hit performances this season already. He has figured out a way to strike out batters at a high rate which almost always helps the case of a pitcher to stick around.
When Lugo returns to the Mets, the same questions will come back as well. What is his exact role with the ball club? A proven top reliever, does he continue to pitch as a two-inning setup man every two or three days? Or perhaps we see Lugo take on some saves a little more frequently. What about the starting rotation? He wants that gig.
Lugo won’t start games for the Mets at all in 2021 as long as their starting pitchers can stay healthy. I know you probably just snickered at the tail end of that last sentence. As if a team can ever go a full season without even a blister on a finger.
I don’t believe Edwin Diaz’s job is in jeopardy quite yet. His shaky outings in clean saves are something we’ll have to deal with. The club does seem to be invested in him even if this current group had nothing to do with first bringing him to New York.
The Sean Reid-Foley, Seth Lugo combination in the bullpen is good enough for me
The Mets have the capability to deplore a bullpen with multiple multi-inning relievers once Lugo is back. Alongside Reid-Foley, the team has a pair of players they can turn to for big and late outs over the course of two frames.
If Robert Gsellman can hold his season together, maybe he even remains with the team as a more traditional long man in the bullpen.
There are only so many arms the team can carry in their bullpen which likely means one newly-found fan-favorite could see himself back in Triple-A prematurely. Reid-Foley is one of the potential roster casualties.
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Looking into the future, the Amazins are set up well with some young options for future bullpens. Reid-Foley may still be a rotation candidate for next season. If he loses the gig, would it be so bad for him to be a tattooed version of Lugo?