Everyone knows the Pittsburgh Pirates need pitching. In a somewhat expected move, Seth Lugo has declined his player option with the San Diego Padres, which was set to pay him $7.5 million. This decision comes as Lugo's chance to explore the market and potentially secure a well-deserved raise. The 33-year-old right-handed pitcher, who recently thrived as a full-time starter for the Padres, has now become an intriguing target for teams in need of pitching talent. Now the former Met and Padre will have a chance to sign a deal to keep him in a starting rotation. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the perfect team to afford him this opportunity.
Lugo's career has been defined by consistently effective performances, and his 2023 season was no exception. He posted a 3.57 ERA over 146.1 innings, proving his worth as a reliable arm on the mound. What sets Lugo apart is his ability to succeed without being a power pitcher, relying on precision and control to get the job done. His fastball averaged 93 miles per hour in 2023. He also used a sinking fastball 20% of the time, something the Pittsburgh Pirates have started to focus on in terms of pitching types.
With bigger-market teams possibly hesitating to invest in a 33-year-old pitcher, the Pirates have a unique opportunity to secure Lugo's services with a multi-year deal. The aging factor might actually work in their favor, as they can offer a contract that suits both parties. Lugo's consistency and adaptability can bring a stabilizing force to the Pirates' rotation, guiding the younger arms and contributing valuable innings.
While Seth Lugo may not be the flashiest name on the market, his low-key effectiveness and consistent track record make him a smart choice for a team in transition like the Pittsburgh Pirates. Signing Lugo could be a step in the right direction as the Bucs aim to rebuild with an eye on the future, all while other teams may be preoccupied with pursuing bigger names like Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery.