An investment in Seth Lugo could be a dangerous mistake by the Mets
If the Mets do let Diaz walk, they might be able to convince Seth Lugo to become the new closer. This has its own risk. Lugo hasn’t closed much in his career and his partially torn UCL is a concern we’re all just waiting to backfire. Plus, Lugo has made a career out of pitching more than one inning in relief and not on consecutive days.
Although Lugo could seek a new deal from another team with a chance to start, it might be tempting enough to stay in New York if he gets closer dollars. I’m not opposed to this at all. Lugo will be an older free agent by that point and possibly an equally as effective ninth-inning man at a cheaper rate.
As recently as 2019, Lugo felt like a definite bullpen piece to build around. Things haven’t changed drastically. He has missed too much time in 2021 to really feel any different. Not quite as dominant in his opportunities this year, Lugo remains effective and reliable—for the most part.
When it comes to offseason decisions after 2022, the bullpen has some huge ones. Trevor May is also a potential free agent. I don’t foresee the Mets re-signing all three of these guys nor should they have the need to. By then, the franchise needs to have developed a reliever in their own system to replace the quality innings these three can offer.
Health will play a major factor into Lugo’s future with the Mets and in the big leagues as a whole. An older free agent yet not so ancient he’ll have to settle for an unfriendly deal, I think Lugo may have just as much to say about what team he pitches for in 2023 as the Mets do. His desired role will play a big part.