Starting in 2017, Lugo was diagnosed with a partial tear of the UCL in his pitching arm. He pitched through the pain, and may I say quite well, out of the bullpen in 2018 and 2019 with a 2.66 and 2.70ERA, respectively.
It was the shortened 60 game season and lack of depth from the Mets that saw Lugo move from the bullpen to the rotation in 2020. Although desperately needed, it was a move that hurt the Mets as he struggled in 7 starts finishing with a 5.15ERA.
With key moves made to the starting rotation and depth supposedly in place for the 2021 season, Lugo was set to return to the bullpen full time. Then during spring training, it was announced that he would be undergoing surgery to remove a "loose body" which ended up being a bone spur in his pitching elbow. Lugo returned at the end of May and just didn't look right. He had his moments but for the most part, struggled in 46 innings pitching to a 4-3 record with a 3.50ERA.
Looking ahead to the 2022 season, Seth Lugo remains a key part of the Mets plans moving forward.
The thing that needs to be established is whether Lugo will be a starter or reliever. He needs a defined role. No more going back and forth. It is what messed him up earlier on in his career.
I do think that what is best for Lugo is to come out of the bullpen. The Mets front office seems poised to add more starting pitching to the rotation even after landing the top free agent, Max Scherzer. By doing that the Mets will most definitely be adding depth which then allows them to carry David Peterson, Tylor Megill, and Jordan Yamamoto at Triple-A.
Lugo has been pretty solid during his career coming out of the bullpen, and solely focusing on that will give the Mets a great weapon.
Something else to consider is to start grooming Lugo to be the closer. With Edwin Diaz set to become a free agent next year, I think he would fit that role perfectly. Also, if Diaz has a great start to the season I would not hesitate to make him available at the trade deadline. I just don’t feel that Diaz is made for New York, but that's just my opinion.
Either way, look for big things from Seth Lugo during the 2022 season. I fully expect him to help the Mets with a bounce back year out of the bullpen.