Bullpen or rotation? Luis Rojas discusses Seth Lugo's potential Mets role for 2021

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Danny Abriano
·2 min read
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Seth Lugo delivers a pitch against the Nationals in Washington, D.C.
Seth Lugo delivers a pitch against the Nationals in Washington, D.C.

As the Mets continue to work on adding arms to the rotation and consider further bolstering the bullpen after the signing of Trevor May, the role Seth Lugo will have in 2021 is still to be determined.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mets manager Luis Rojas said Lugo is on a throwing program put together by pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, with an eye on keeping things flexible heading into spring training.

"Right now I know Seth has been in conversations to be either way," Rojas said Wednesday via Zoom. "And I think with respect to our front office now -- Jared, Sandy, and working on the logistics of our needs -- there will probably be some talk as to whether we're gonna use him in the bullpen or the rotation.

"Seth is a great asset in both. We'll see where we go in the offseason and what we're bringing to the team or how we're gonna go. And I think that's gonna dictate how we're gonna use him. And then we can definitely share that (decision)."

Lugo has proven to be an elite reliever whose value is immense due in part to his ability to often pitch more than one inning per appearance.

In 2020, Lugo had a 6.15 ERA and 1.51 WHIP as a starter while allowing batters to slug .556. In the pen, he had a 2.61 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while allowing batters to slug just .342.

Looking at his career splits since the sample in 2020 is so small, Lugo has a 4.35 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 194.2 IP as a starter and a 2.53 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 188.2 IP in relief.

The expectation is that the Mets will add more starting pitchers to a group that already includes Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and David Peterson.

In addition to the above pitchers, Steven Matz could be in competition for a spot in the rotation and Noah Syndergaard could be back from Tommy John surgery during the first half of the season.

In the event the Mets fill out the rotation as expected, the decision to use Lugo in the bullpen -- where he is better suited -- should be easy.