The 27-year-old southpaw spent most of the pandemic-shortened 2020 at the Padres’ alternate site and struggled during his brief run with the team. However, Lucchesi pitched to a rock-solid 4.14 ERA across 56 starts — roughly league average when adjusting for the league and parks he pitched in, per FanGraphs’ ERA- stat — from 2018-2019.
With Lucchesi, the Mets have another established starting pitcher to jostle for a spot in the back end of their rotation or work in their bullpen. After the frontline trio of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Carlos Carrasco, Lucchesi will likely battle standout David Peterson and former top prospect Steven Matz for the final two starting spots early on. Noah Syndergaard should return from Tommy John surgery some time after Opening Day.
The Mets will send 20-year-old prospect Endy Rodriguez to Pirates in a three-team deal, who continue their deep rebuild by sending Joe Musgrove to San Diego.
The move likely signals that Seth Lugo will pitch exclusively from the bullpen in 2021 barring injury. Lugo has filled a starter role at times throughout his five years with the Mets, but has excelled in relief, throwing to a 2.53 ERA over 188.2 innings.