It’s no secret that the New York Mets new owner is the wealthiest owner in all of MLB. Additionally, since Steve Cohen’s purchase was made after this past season he has not felt the financial loss that every other team is feeling right now. As a result, the eyes of the baseball world are set squarely on the team from Queens.
On Tuesday, the Mets made their first meaningful signing of the offseason by inking Trevor May to a two-year deal worth 15.5 million dollars. While Mets fans wanted a different Trevor signed this is just the beginning of what most baseball people are predicting to be a very lucrative offseason for New York. The signing of May could lead to some interesting developments as this offseason hot stove heats up.
Trevor May adds a quality arm to a bullpen that really needs one. Relief pitchers can be hot one year and cold the next year. But May has been solid since coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2018. May has never been a full-time closer so it is unlikely he will be asked to do that unless Edwin Diaz completely blows up again. But the expectations are that the Mets are not done adding to this bullpen.
May has allowed 25 inherited runners to score out of 84 total runners which is good for 30%. That is a pretty good number and the most important one for a back end pitcher who is not the closer. Also in the last three seasons, May has allowed 17 home runs in 113 innings pitched. During that span, May has struck out 153 batters and has a 1.079 WHIP. But more importantly what else could the signing of May mean for the New York Mets.
Seth Lugo Effect
All eyes are now squarely focused on Seth Lugo. Lugo has always expressed a desire to be a starting pitcher. He was a big reason the New York Mets were able to be one of the Wild Card teams in 2016 when he was a key starter down the stretch of the season. He regressed as a starter in 2017 and has been used mostly as a reliever since the 2018 season where he has been the Mets best arm out of the bullpen. Lugo’s stint as a starter this past season was disastrous. In 26 and one-third of an inning, Lugo allowed 18 earned runs and had a 1.532 WHIP.
To be fair Lugo was pitching out of the bullpen for the first month of the 60-game season and needed to be stretched out. It was an attempt by the Mets to fix their starting rotation which was ravaged by injuries by moving their most trusted reliever into the rotation. Now with the signing of May and possibly more bullpen help on the way it is fair to start to think about what role if any Lugo will have in 2021.
Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson is certainly familiar with Lugo and his desire to be a starting pitcher. But Alderson was part of the regime that moved him to the bullpen which could indicate what he feels Lugo’s best spot is. Currently, the Mets starting rotation has three names locked in. Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom is the ace and one of the best pitchers in baseball and Marcus Stroman makes up the front end of the rotation. Second-year pitcher David Peterson most likely is in the back end of the rotation. It’s a safe bet that those three pitchers are in the rotation when Opening Day rolls around. The Mets also kept struggling starting pitcher Steven Matz. Could he still be in the Mets rotation plans or will he be moved to the bullpen?
Noah Syndergaard who had Tommy John surgery in March is already throwing off a mound. He is expected to miss the beginning of the season. If the Mets are confident that Syndergaard will be healthy early in the season that certainly makes their decision very easy on Lugo’s place. Syndergaard would be the fourth member of the rotation which leaves one spot open for possibly the more prominent Trevor on the market. Alderson and Trevor Bauer exchanged pleasantries on social media so that could mean there is mutual interest. Bauer would give the Mets incredible depth in their rotation and you can bet that Alderson would sign an insurance policy or two. After all, you can never have enough starting pitching. A Bauer signing could mean the end of Lugo as a starting pitcher on the Mets.
This is probably the best spot for Lugo and the Mets. Over the past two seasons, Lugo has been the best and most valuable arm out of the bullpen. Lugo has replaced Edwin Diaz at closer before and did a fine job. He also was tremendous in two-inning stints. The May signing makes the thought of Lugo co-sharing the set-up role so much more appealing. But it is a fact that the Mets now have a surplus of right-handed relief pitchers. Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Brad Brach, Jacob Barnes, and Miguel Castro now join Lugo, Diaz, and May. To be fair Lugo is better than all of those names.
Who is to say the Mets don’t add another relief pitcher like Brad Hand. This could certainly be a buyers market for a deep-pocketed owner like Steve Cohen. The Mets bullpen still does have lots of question marks. Having Lugo as one of the primary arms would certainly stabilize the pen.
Lugo Packs His Bags
Seth Lugo can also be used as a trade chip. Before you say that is crazy just look at the Mets roster. Aside from the glut of right-handed relief pitchers the Mets have, it is probably certain that either Andres Gimenez or Amed Rosario gets traded. If the Mets are looking to trade for a player like Francisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado, or Kris Bryant they do have the major league talent to make such a move without giving up their best minor league players.
Lugo can certainly bring back a good haul especially when coupled with other players. Sandy Alderson has already said he wants to build a strong minor league system. This could mean the Mets are going to be actively signing free agents and trading any surplus players they have on the major league roster. This is certainly a possibility that the Mets could be looking at.
There haven’t been many times when the New York Mets have had this much buzz and excitement. Steve Cohen has brought all of that and much more. He has the Mets fan base guessing with huge anticipation on just what moves are coming. The Mets certainly have holes that need to be filled before they can be a legitimate World Series contender.
The Trevor May signing could lead to all sorts of possibilities. What move comes next? Are the Mets and Steve Cohen playing chess? Seth Lugo’s role could be the next chess move that gets made. Or maybe the signing of May just means the Mets added another quality arm for the bullpen.
Lugo has been pitching with a partially torn UCL which could factor in the decision. He is signed for 2.75 million dollars for the 2021 season and is arbitration-eligible in 2022 and will be a free agent following the 2022 season. But none of this means the Mets have to or will trade Lugo. As of right now the Mets bullpen just got better. It will be even better if Lugo goes back to being a reliever.
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