The Phillies expressed interest in longtime Mets pitcher Seth Lugo.
Taijuan Walker may not be the only former New York Mets pitcher that the Philadelphia Phillies acquire this offseason.
According to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, the Phillies showed interest in right-hander Seth Lugo as a possible bullpen addition. The seven-year veteran prefers to start, however, putting a potential deal to don red pinstripes in jeopardy.
Drafted by the Mets in the 34th round of the 2011 draft out of Centenary College of Louisiana, Lugo has pitched solely for the Mets since his July 2016 debut. Spanning 275 career appearances and 494 2/3 innings, Lugo has gone 32-24 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.164 WHIP and 508-137 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Among the other “suitors” for Lugo that Heyman lists include the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals.
Lugo’s lone experience in the postseason came this past fall in the National League Wild Card Series opposite the Phillies’ eventual NLCS foe, the San Diego Padres. Appearing in all three games, Lugo recorded two scoreless innings and a save — allowing two hits and one walk while striking out three of his nine batters faced.
It makes sense that the Phillies would rather not take the chance on Lugo for their starting rotation. After all, the 33-year-old has made just 38 starts in his career — and only a combined dozen starts since the 2018 season. Amid the small sample size, Lugo has a career 4.35 ERA when used as a starter, as opposed to a career 2.91 ERA when coming out of the bullpen.
With Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suárez, and Walker at the top of the rotation, the Phillies will likely try out a combination of prospects for the fifth spot next season — with right-hander Andrew Painter at the top of the list.
Lugo would be a great bullpen acquisition for the Phillies, complementing their recent free-agent signing of left-hander Matt Strahm to a two-year, $15 million contract. For now, it appears he will hold out and see if another team will give him the chance to start in the 2023 season.