MLB Free Agency Rumors: Seth Lugo Signing With Padres Over Dodgers

After falling second to the New York Mets for Justin Verlander and not pursuing Carlos Rodón before his deal with the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers were among the teams interested in signing Seth Lugo.

The right-hander has primarily been a relief pitcher for the Mets over the past two seasons but was looking to join a team that would afford him another opportunity to start. The last time Lugo was a full-time starter came during the 2017 with the Mets, when it was discovered he had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow.

The Dodgers nonetheless were looking to sign Lugo and stretch him out as a starter. So too were the San Diego Padres, and potentially Washington Nationals as well.

Ultimately, Lugo decided to sign with the Padres instead of the Dodgers, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

Lugo’s contract with the Padres is for two years and more than $15 million, and includes an opt-out clause after the 2023 season, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

Lugo made a career-high 18 starts for the Mets in 2017, and was last in their rotation in 2020 when he started seven of 16 overall appearances during the shortened season.

When primarily pitching out of the bullpen from 2018-2022, Lugo went 20-17 with 16 saves, a 3.25 ERA, 122 ERA+, 3.40 FIP and 1.11 WHIP across 239 games (12 starts).

Although the Dodgers were open to having Lugo start, the Padres had more of a need due to their final spot in the rotation not being set. As it currently stands, Noah Syndergaard projects to be the Dodgers’ fifth starter.

Dodgers starting pitching depth

Where Lugo would have been of benefit to the Dodgers is in bolstering their overall pitching depth due to the 33-year-old being capable of shifting to the bullpen if necessary.

Should any injuries hit the starting rotation, the Dodgers are looking at relying on Ryan Pepiot, Andre Jackson and Michael Grove to step up. Dodgers prospects Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone are viewed as potential contributors later into the 2023 season.

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