Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote this morning that the Royals are “surprisingly aggressive in trying to add starting pitching” and this afternoon he named a specific free agent the Royals are pursuing - Seth Lugo.
The Royals reportedly pursued Lugo last off-season before he signed a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Padres. He flourished as a full-time starter with the Padres, posting a 3.57 ERA in 26 starts with a career-high 140 strikeouts in 146 1⁄3 innings, a 2.8 fWAR season. His 6 percent walk rate was the 19th-lowest among all pitchers with at least 100 innings. Lugo has a five-pitch mix with a fastball, curveball, sinker, slider, and change up. The sinker was his best pitch last year, with opponents hitting just .206 against it, and he netted a groundball rate of 45.2 percent.
The Louisiana native turned 34 last month, so he isn’t young. He missed a bit of time with a calf strain, but has avoided major injuries throughout his career. Last year was his first year stretched out as a full-time starter since 2017, so there may be some questions about his ability to shoulder a starting load.
It would probably take a two-year deal to land him, something around the two-year, $26 million deal Nick Martinez signed with the Reds. He is drawing a lot of interest, with the Tigers, Diamondbacks, Reds, and Dodgers all connected to him, with the Red Sox reportedly “stepping up efforts” in pursuit of him.