Detroit Tigers signing Seth Lugo is akin to signing Michael Lorenzen.
They are just rumors, and the off-season is full of rumors, but if the Detroit Tigers sign right-handed pitcher Seth Lugo, it might be an eerily similar move to what they did before the 2022 season kicked off: betting on success from an interesting source. Detroit's reportedly targeting Lugo and could make him one of their off-season additions.
Last year, the Detroit Tigers brought in Michael Lorenzen on a one-year contract. While he was later traded in a deal with the Phillies, there was an interesting buzz around him when he was signed. After being converted to a starter by the Angels in 2021, Lorenzen was only going into his second year as a starting pitcher in the big leagues.
Detroit took a flier on Lorenzen, hoping that he could continue to hold down a role in the rotation and be productive, and he did. Heck, some folks were upset with the signing, thinking he would end up back in a relief role, which was how he had spent the start of his career after coming up with Cincinnati.
Fast-forward to this winter, and the Tigers are seemingly in a similar spot. No deal is in place, but the Tigers are reported to be "in" on Seth Lugo. Lugo spent seven seasons with the Mets organization, being a consistent face on the pitching staff, mostly in the bullpen.
He began his career as a starter but quickly transitioned to the bullpen, where he spent the bulk of his seven years, including some time as a key piece to the back end of the bullpen, in a high-leverage role ahead of the closer. He logged 275 games with the Mets, including. This included 38 starts early on in his career.
But, last winter he signed a deal with the San Diego Padres, who drastically changed his workload. The Padres converted him back into a starter, making him part of their 2023 rotation. Now he's hitting the open market, looking to continue his reemergence as a starter.
In 2023, Lugo made 26 starts, logging 146.1 innings pitched. He managed a 3.57 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, walking just 36 opposing hitters to 140 strikeouts. Certainly not the worst numbers for a player who was making his return to the mound as a starting pitcher. The hits allowed drove up his WHIP, but it can certainly be worked on.
Lugo was not too shabby in 2023 with the Padres, and taking a chance on him could yield similar results as Lorenzen did just a year ago. Lorenzen was a solid starter for Detroit before being traded and pieced together good outings. Adding in someone like Lugo could certainly help the rotation, and likely on somewhat of a budget.