Potential free agent rebound: Lucas Giolito

This year, there is an abundance of quality starting pitching in the free-agent class. One pitcher up for grabs is Lucas Giolito, who has experienced a downturn in his last two seasons before becoming a free agent. In 2023, he experienced some turbulence, seeing a modest 4.88 ERA, while allowing 41 home runs in 184 1/3 innings. However, in the years prior, Giolito was a standout performer, showcasing himself as a frontline pitcher with a solid ERA and 11.3 WAR in 72 starts from 2019-2021.

Giolito’s career trajectory has been a rollercoaster. After a tough start, his career took a turn for the better in 2019 when he established himself as a top starter. The introduction of changes to his arm slot, pitch mix, and overall command of his stuff elevated his game. His fastballs saw greater velocity and more efficient use, boosting his overall pitching performance. However, these positive changes did not translate in the seasons that followed.

His recent two seasons have been the complete opposite of his previous performance. There have been worrisome declines across all measures, turning Giolito from a prime-time player to an innings-eating backend starter. The drop in his strikeouts can be largely attributed to the decreasing effectiveness of his fastball, leading to a decline in his overall performance.

Giolito’s journey has been marred with highs and lows. The right-hander is looking to get back on track for the upcoming season. He attributed his recent struggles primarily to a lack of execution in pitch delivery. Despite a slight decline in his fastball velocity, Giolito believes his pitching arsenal is still robust and capable of delivering a solid performance.

Despite the recent setbacks, Giolito is hopeful that he can find a new team that will help him return to his previous form. Several teams could be interested in acquiring the services of Giolito if the price is right, including the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Giants, and Phillies.

With his potential and desire to revive his career, Giolito could potentially help a team strengthen their starting pitching rotation. Whether he can return to his prior top form or find a middle ground between his peak years and his last two seasons will need to be seen. But given his past achievements, Giolito can be a valuable addition to any team willing to take a chance.


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