The San Diego Padres have gone for broke in the last few months, as A.J. Preller has beefed up their lineup in grand style by trading for Juan Soto and signing Xander Bogaerts. Even after lighting off all those fireworks, San Diego is not done adding players.
The Padres need pitchers, as the departures of Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea have left holes on the back end of the starting rotation. If Nick Martinez ends up sticking as a starter, that will make a top-heavy bullpen worse. Luckily, Preller has his eyes set on one particular reliever from the New York Mets.
The Mets have spent a ton of money to bring in Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga while retaining Brandon Nimmo, but that meant parting ways with Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo. The latter is expected to have a very robust free agent market, with two NL West rivals in hot pursuit.
According to Jon Heyman, the Lugo chase is a two-horse race between the Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, though the Washington Nationals have also been poking around and positioning themselves as a potential dark horse. San Diego would instantly make Lugo one of the team’s featured arms.
Will the San Diego Padres sign Seth Lugo?
In the last five seasons, Lugo has posted a 3.25 ERA and struck out more than a batter an inning. His ability to pitch multiple innings was underutilized by the Mets last year, but San Diego might have a bit more use for him if they can get him to replicate his New York performance.
Earlier reports claim that teams like the Padres are viewing Lugo as a starter. With the front three of their rotation (Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell) set in stone, the Padres may have to resort to using Lugo as one of the two back-end arms to start the season.
The Dodgers may have signed JD Martinez, but that hardly makes up for losing the entire left side of the infield. With Trea Turner in Philadelphia and Justin Turner joining Martinez’s old team in Boston, the Dodgers need to make some noteworthy moves if they want to keep pace with the rest of the division.
Lugo joining a group of bullpen arms that includes Robert Suarez and Josh Hader would be tremendous, but the idea of making him the No. 5 starter and tag-teaming with Nick Martinez could be a very unique rotation kink that teams aren’t prepared for. The Dodgers, however, may have enough cash on hand to spoil Preller’s plans.