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Mets Can’t Afford To Lose Seth Lugo

Perhaps, the New York Mets just heard the worst possible news they could’ve heard. Seth Lugo needed elbow surgery, and he may not be able to pitch again until May, which is probably the optimistic view .

Make no mistake here. The Mets need Lugo back as soon as he can get back to being Lugo. That Lugo is the best and most versatile reliever in baseball. That reliever was desperately needed to stabilize this Mets bullpen.

Edwin Diaz is coming off a tremendous bounce-back year. That said, it was still just 26 appearances, and he still managed to blow 40% of his save opportunities. Moreover, he’s developed an every other year pattern with 2021 projected to be the down year.

Jeurys Familia has not been good since returning to the Mets, and based on his FIP, it’ll be difficult to imagine him turning it around in 2021.

There are some indications we could see a bounce back year from Dellin Betances. Still, Betances needs to regain some velocity and control with the latter always being an issue for him.

Miguel Castro may have a live arm, but he’s yet to harness it. He’s got a very poor career 4.7 BB/9, and even with the strikeout numbers, he only has a 1.59 K/BB, and batters hit .244 against him.

Aaron Loup has traditionally pitched well against left-handed batters, but he’s historically struggled against right-handed batters.

When you break it all down, the only pitcher you can truly have confidence in the Mets bullpen is Trevor May. Part and parcel of that is how the aforementioned relievers will be deployed has now been altered by Lugo’s injury.

Now, this is an opportunity for another pitcher, but they have to grab it.

Drew Smith has tremendous velocity and spin. The same holds true for Yennsy Diaz and Sean Reid-Foley. None of these three have been able to establish themselves yet with the later two having significant control issues. This also applies to Franklyn Kilome.

Robert Gsellman could return to the form we saw of him when he first landed in the bullpen. One of Joey Lucchesi or Jordan Yamamoto could find themselves there pending the results of the fifth starter spot.

There’s also the free agent and trade market as well. Even at this point in the offseason, there are still quality options remaining.

No matter where the Mets look, they’re not finding anyone nearly as good as Lugo. If they can’t, it throws the entire bullpen and pitching staff in disarray. As we’ve seen in years past, bad bullpens can ruin good teams.

These Mets are a good team. They might be a great team. However, with the loss of Lugo, their chances of hitting that ceiling took a massive hit. At the end of the day, there’s just no replacing the best reliever in baseball.

Instead, the Mets have to just hope they have enough quality depth. They need to hope 1-2 pitchers really step up. Mostly, they just need to hope Lugo is able to be Lugo at some point in 2021.

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