REPORT: Cubs Among Teams Who’ve Asked About Mets Starter Seth Lugo

While I certainly didn’t expect the rumor mill to slow down anytime soon, I don’t think I expected too many new names to enter into the mix this late in the game either.

And given that the Cubs have already acquired Jose Quintana from the White Sox, I really didn’t expect one of those new names to be a young, cost-controlled starting pitcher.

But here we are:

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is reporting that the Chicago Cubs are among several clubs that have asked the Mets about their 27-year-old righty, Seth Lugo. Well, then.

Lugo, if you’re unfamiliar, is in his second Major League season, but made just eight starts in 2016 (plus nine appearances out of the pen) and another eight starts and one relief appearance this year. Over his relatively short career, Lugo has posted a solid 3.32 ERA, but has some slightly less exciting peripherals (4.29 FIP, 16.3% strikeout rate, 43.8% ground ball rate).

He’s also dealt with some health issues in the recent past. Back in August of last season, Lugo left his start against the Cardinals with muscle cramps. Then, after pitching in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Lugo was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in his pitching arm and went on the 60-day disabled list, though it apparently did not require Tommy John surgery (yet).

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

With all of that said, there are obviously things to like. For one, he’s got solid command, posting a 7.3% walk rate as a starter last season and an even better 6.1% walk rate as a starter this year. And, perhaps even more encouragingly, he’s not been bitten by the home run bug like the rest of the league has (career 10.5% HR/FB ratio). That’s especially important, given how few ground balls he gets.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that he’s not even arbitration eligible until 2020 and is under team control through 2022. He may not be as young as some of the other starters on the trade market, but that’s a whole lot of control (to say nothing of the obvious upside).

Unfortunately, that’s precisely why the Mets may want to keep him:

Obviously, if the Mets aren’t “motivated” to deal Lugo, then it probably won’t happen, but perhaps (after being bit by the injury bug so many times with their other starters) the Mets want to cash in on Lugo’s value while they can. And, at this point, I think we can say the Cubs are at least considering the addition of another starting pitcher, even as Joe Maddon has pointed out that isn’t necessarily his expectation.

Stay posted, my friends. Things are getting fun.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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