Remember last offseason when the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Andrew Heaney just days into free agency and seemingly rounded out their starting rotation? Then they added Tyler Anderson, who many believes would be a better fit as a starter?
Heaney was coming off a disastrous showing with the New York Yankees during the second half of 2021 and Anderson was a Seattle Mariners’ deadline acquisition that didn’t exactly pan out either after his solid showing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. But he was still better than Heaney.
Anderson told the Dodgers he’d accept any role on the pitching staff, so with Heaney preferring a role in the rotation, Anderson opened the year in the bullpen. After two games as a reliever, Anderson was needed in the rotation because of injuries.
He remained there for 28 starts and finished with a 2.50 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 170.2 innings. But he’s gone now. So is Heaney. The Dodgers need to find reinforcements.
Their latest reported free agent target could be an Anderson-esque replacement. Seth Lugo, the former longtime New York Met, is on the market and has multiple suitors, but it feels like LA is the best landing spot for him.
The Dodgers are targeting Seth Lugo in free agency and he’s the perfect fit
MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that the Dodgers, among others, would consider giving Lugo a chance to start. Perhaps he takes on the Anderson role as a long reliever/first guy out of the bullpen and steps in once the rotation takes a hit?
Lugo last made starts in 2020 and only had one year as a full-time rotation piece in 2017. Some might argue the Mets haven’t utilized him properly over the last few years due to his clear regression. Leave it to the Dodgers to maximize his potential and take advantage of his 99th percentile curveball spin if they can get their hands on him. Lugo also ranked in the 86th percentile in hard-hit percentage. We’re sure they’ll figure out a way to have him improve upon his chase rate being in the bottom one percent of the league. Pitching coach Mark Prior loves candidates like this.
The 33-year-old Lugo has a five-pitch mix (curveball, four-seam fastball, sinker, slider and changeup), but really saw his sinker and slider abused (his third- and fourth-most used pitches). LA could have him emphasize his fastball and curveball even more while integrating the changeup a bit more (utilized only 1.7% of the time in 2022).
Looking at what they did with Anderson, who saw a more wholesome and even approach with his fastball, cutter and curveball (fastball and cutter got kicked down a few pegs while the curve became more prominent), fans could see a similar approach with Lugo, who’s previously shown a propensity to miss bats with his nasty stuff.
The potential for versatility on the pitching staff makes it all the more appealing. LA can probably afford to out-bid the field here, too, since they’ve done nothing so far this offseason.