According to Marc Carig of The Athletic, the Mets and Astros have been swapping ideas for a potential trade this offseason. Although the two sides haven’t come together on any particular arrangement, Carig hears that Houston may have some interest in a deal involving right-handed reliever Seth Lugo.
The 29-year-old righty proved both versatile and effective after making a near full-time switch to the bullpen in 2018. As the Mets struggled to cobble together a healthy starting rotation, Lugo shone in his new role, pitching to a 2.30 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, and 8.7 SO/9 through 49 relief appearances and 78 1/3 innings (his five spot starts, on the other hand, generated far more lackluster results). His breakthrough on the mound has largely been attributed to his signature curveball, which broke records with its absurdly high spin rate and could make him an intriguing addition to Houston’s spin rate-dependent pitching staff in 2019.
Right now, however, it’s not exactly clear how the Astros envision utilizing the right-handed swingman — provided they get that opportunity at all. Earlier this month, Mets skipper Mickey Callaway appeared committed to the idea of keeping Lugo in the bullpen for another year, and there’s no doubt he’d continue to make an impact for the team alongside recent additions like Jeurys Familia and Edwin Díaz. While there’s no need to throw cold water on this idea just yet, Carig points out that the Mets’ and Astros’ talks have been “wider-ranging” of late and it’s possible that they may not settle on anything definite for some time.