Padres Hurler To Opt Out Of Deal to Become Free Agent

After leaving the New York Mets bullpen last summer to sign a free agent deal with the San Diego Padres as a starting pitcher, Seth Lugo is now betting on himself yet again, and will opt out of the second year of his contract with the Padres, as reported by MLB Insider Jon Heyman.

Lugo had a nice season in his return to the starting rotation for the first time since 2017. In 26 starts with the Friars this year, he posted a 3.57 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP, while registering a tremendous 140:36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 146 innings. 

The Padres' rotation will be losing its ace, Blake Snell, to free agency, while Nos. 2 and 3 starters Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish had their 2023 seasons end prematurely due to injury. Both of the latter are signed to long-term deals, however. 

Will the Padres look to spend money to bring back either Snell (doubtful) or Lugo? Heyman reports on a suggestion that "the Padres may cut back after losing money in 2023, but it may just not be in their DNA. Owner Peter Seidler badly wants to win"

Perhaps the Mets will look at bringing back Lugo? Their rotation is pretty barren at the moment. 

Lugo began his career as mainly a starter with the Mets, but found more success as a reliever, leaving some questioning the move last summer by the Padres to guarantee him a role in the rotation. 

But Lugo rewarded the Friars with a very nice season. Now he'll try to capitalize on that with a starting pitcher's free agent deal. He will be turning 34 next month, though, so he shouldn't expect anything more than a two- or three-year contract at best. He feels, however, that he can beat the $7.5M salary in AAV that he's leaving on the table.  

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