Where will the Mets use Seth Lugo in 2021? Will he be in the bullpen or will he be in the rotation? The answer to that question will have a big impact on the Met off-season plans.
Lugo has performed in both roles and in 2020 he was put in the rotation after injuries forced the hand of the Mets. He had very mixed results in that role last year while in his bullpen role he was more overall successful. Where he sits on the 2021 team is a big determining factor in how the Mets rebuild their pitching staff.
Scenario #1—With Lugo in the rotation you can count on Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo and David Peterson to be in the rotation with Marcus Stroman a possibility if he accepts the Mets qualifying offer. The team must also decide on the future of Steven Matz as well as explore the free agent market for starters. The bullpen now that both Betances and Brach have opted to return also includes Familia and a revitalized Edwin Diaz. The team must decide on retaining free agent Justin Wilson and really need a southpaw out there but there are other options like Brad Hand for instance. But with Lugo in the rotation the Mets will need to add relief pitchers so the pen has the necessary depth.
Scenario #2–If Lugo is relegated to the bullpen you have a quartet of Lugo, Familia, Diaz and Betances to command the late innings while Brad Brach provides depth but you still need southpaw presence in that pen I mentioned above. However now you only possess deGrom and Peterson as solid starters knowing the earliest you can expect Noah Syndergaard is by mid-season. So If Stroman accepts the qualifying offer (and that remains to be seen) you will still need to fill this rotation out with 2 solid starters. By solid, I do not mean spectacular–I just mean solid names that keep the game in hand. In this scenario, you explore the free agent market but depending how much you spend on CF and the catching position you may need to explore players in that second tier of pitching free agency.
For example with Lugo in the rotation I could envision a rotation of deGrom, Peterson, Lugo, Stroman plus another starter like Charlie Morton for instance. But if Lugo moves into the bullpen you will need 2 starters and maybe Matz could fill that role but I am thinking you could do better outside the organization.
I know the name Met fans want is Trevor Bauer and if that occurs I firmly believe it will mean Lugo back to the pen but if not, Lugo could likely stay in the rotation and the Mets could fortify the pen with Liam Hendricks, Trevor Rosenthal, Blake Treinen, Mark Melancon, Brad Hand, or even Alex Colome who comprise a vast array of relief pitching talent in that free agent market place.
So much for this organization to consider but where Seth Lugo sits on the depth chart will have a huge impact on the execution of the team’s off-season plans once a full management team has been put into place.