The Royals are said to be looking for one or two starting free agent pitchers to “bridge the gap”, and according to Ari Alexander of KPRC Houston, they are one of five teams pursuing free agent Seth Lugo. The 33-year-old right-hander has been a useful bullpen piece for the Mets, appearing in 62 games of relief for them last year with a 3.60 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 65 innings. But he has been a swingman in the past, making 38 starts in his career, and according to Alexander, the Royals, Reds, Tigers, Nationals, and Orioles are interested in him as a starter.
Source: There are at least 5 teams interested in signing former #Mets reliever Seth Lugo as a starter.— Ari Alexander (@AriA1exander) December 7, 2022
They include the #Tigers, #Reds, #Royals, #Nationals and #Orioles. pic.twitter.com/r5pwz1tT6P
Lugo last started in 2020, making seven starts that year, but he had a 6.15 ERA as a starter that year with a 2.61 ERA in relief. He has performed much better out of the pen over his career with a 2.91 ERA as a reliever and a 4.35 ERA as a starter.
Lugo is a curveball pitcher, throwing it a third of the time with some of the best spin rate in the league. He also throws a sinker, slider, and a fastball that sits at 94 mph. He doesn’t get many hitters to chase, although he has a solid strikeout rate, but he thrives by inducing poor contact and racking up groundballs.
It would likely take a one- or two-year deal to land a pitcher at his age, although it appears he has a lot of interest. A name like Lugo isn’t a flashy name, but pursuing versatile pitchers who can start or relieve makes sense for the Royals as they look to fill in innings to protect their young pitchers.