Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Seth Lugo wants to be in the Mets' starting rotation, and he fired four scoreless innings Thursday night in his potentially-brief return to the rotation. But in the Mets' "ideal world," Lugo won't be staying in the rotation.
"I think [Lugo] can definitely start," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said after Thursday night's game, before adding a caveat: "For us, in an ideal world, he's still in the bullpen helping our bullpen and some of the other guys are in the rotation."
The "some of the other guys" Callaway is referring to are Jason Vargas, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz.
Vargas has an 8.53 ERA, but has mixed in two scoreless 5.0 inning performances during his last three starts.
Wheeler has a 5.40 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, and has been alternating very good starts with very bad ones lately, though he performed better in his most recent start (four runs in 6.0 innings against the Brewers) than his line indicates.
Then there's Matz, who has performed exceptionally well lately, allowing one or zero runs in four of his last five starts to lower his ERA to 3.55. Of course, he left his last start after 3.0 scoreless innings due to a finger issue that Mets GM Sandy Alderson stressed was incredibly minor. And Matz could make his next start as scheduled on Sunday.
Since Noah Syndergaard might miss one more start as he recovers from a strained index finger, Lugo might get one more start no matter what. But what happens to him after that, with the majority of the Mets' bullpen struggling?
When Anthony Swarzak returns from the DL, which could be as soon as this coming Tuesday, the Mets should have another reliable arm in the bullpen to pair with Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia. But will that make them comfortable enough to shift Lugo to the rotation full-time?
And if the Mets do choose to shift Lugo to the rotation, who does he replace? On merit, Matz belongs in the rotation. That would make the choice between Vargas (making $16 million over the next two seasons) and Wheeler (whose injury history might not make him the best option for bullpen work).
So, should Lugo stay in the 'pen or move to the rotation?
Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
I asked this question of Callaway last night because Lugo clearly pitched like someone who can bring stability to the back end of a rotation. When I used the phrase "ideal world" in my question, the manager made clear that he felt he needed Lugo in the 'pen.
I then had to clarify, "I guess I mean ideal world for him" -- meaning, the role that best fits Lugo's abilities. Callaway still seemed to have minimal interest in entertaining the concept.
You can understand where he's coming from on that. With a diminished number of relievers he can trust, Callaway clearly wants the comfort of knowing that he can call on Lugo during a game.
But at the same time, it does feel like the Mets might be wasting a solid starting pitcher, and the innings that he could provide in that role. The team has always been reluctant to shift Wheeler to the 'pen, but at this point, flipping the roles of Wheeler and Lugo is intriguing.