After declining his player option on Thursday to become a free agent, starting pitcher Seth Lugo would make sense as a free agent target for the Pittsburgh Pirates
The MLB offseason officially began on Friday. One move that occurred with this was San Diego Padre pitcher Seth Lugo declining his player option for 2024, making him a free agent. Now that Lugo is a free agent, he is a pitcher that the Pittsburgh Pirates should pursue.
Most a reliever in his career, Lugo was looking for an opportunity to prove himself as a starting pitcher in 2023. The San Diego Padres provided this opportunity, and it was an opportunity that Lugo ran with. The way he seized the opportunity also led to him declining his player option to become a free agent.
The 33-year-old Lugo had 38 career MLB starts entering the 2023 season. Of these 38 starts, 18 of them came in 2017. Outside of making 7 starts during the 2020 COVID season, Lugo had not started a game since 2018.
After the first 7 seasons of his MLB career with the New York Mets, Lugo joined the Padres last season. In what will be his lone season in San Diego, Lugo made 26 starts and pitched 146.1 inning. He posted a 3.57 ERA, 3.83 FIP, walked 6.0% of batters faced, and struck batters out at a 23.2% clip.
While starting full-time to Lugo was new, pitching well was not. In his MLB career, Lugo owns a 3.50 ERA and a 3.68 FIP in 641 innings pitched. He's walked 6.5% of opposing batter, while striking out 24.4% of opponents.
Looking ahead, Lugo could be looking for a two or three year contract in free agency. Either one of those contracts are one the Pirates would easily be able to offer him. Especially with the holes in their starting rotation and the money they could spend this offseason if they chose to do so.
At worst, Lugo would be the third best starting pitcher for the Pirates beind Mitch Keller and Johan Oviedo. Although, he would likely be better than Oviedo and there would even be an argument to be made he could be better than Keller.
Lugo should 100% be a target of the Pirates this offseason.