The Red Sox take a flier Lucas Giolito. The two sides reportedly agreed to a two-year, $38.5MM guarantee that would allow CAA to opt out of the client after the first season. Giolito will make $18MM in salary next year, plus $1MM if he uses his opt-out. His '25 salary was $19MM.
A conditional option that covers the 2026 campaign if he doesn't leave next winter. If Giolito throws fewer than 140 innings in 2025, the Sox will have a $14MM club option. If he reaches or tops 140 frames, he will turn that arrangement into a $19MM mutual option. Regardless of the option value, there will be a $1.5MM buyout. The contract includes a $1MM performance bonus in each of the next two seasons.
It's a pillow deal for a 29-year-old. It mirrors the worst of the last few months of last season. Giolito looked on track for a nine-figure contract earlier this summer. In his first 21 starts with the White Sox, he posted a 3.79 ERA while striking out more than a quarter of the batters he faced. Chicago's slump in competition makes him one of the best starters available at the deadline.
A trade that sends Giolito with a reliever Reynaldo Lopez That seemed to raise his market value to the Angels. Joining a fringe contender gives him an outside shot at a playoff berth. That made the most sense for his free agency, which took the qualifying offer off the table because QO can't be offered to players who switch teams in the interim.
Things are not like that. Giolito has been one of the worst pitchers in MLB since the deadline. Made just six starts for the Halos, who placed him on waivers, waiving the remainder of his salary after the team fell out of contention to help squeeze under the luxury tax line. Giolito was hit hard by both Los Angeles and the Guardians, who picked him off the waiver wire in late August.
In his last 12 appearances, he's pitched to a 6.96 ERA over 63 1/3 innings. He also struggled with the longball, allowing 21 homers (one every three innings) in that stretch. His walk rate also increased. He issued free passes to nearly 11% of opponents after issuing walks at a manageable 8.3% clip in Chicago.
Absent a major injury, it will be hard to build on a very disappointing Finals two months before free agency. He has a lot on his career resume that makes him the best recovery target in the rotation class. Giolito turned in upper mid-rotation results from 2019-21, despite the hitter-friendly nature of Chicago's guaranteed-rate field, combining with a 3.47 ERA to go along with an excellent 30.7% strikeout percentage.
He has allowed five earned runs over the past two seasons, albeit for different reasons. His 4.90 mark in 2022 combined with a .340 average on balls in play, the highest rate of his career. That dropped to .274 last season, and his early-season results once again paint the picture of a solid #3 starter. Then came the homer barrage late in the season that left him with a 4.88 ERA at the end of the year.
The longball has always been a problem for Giolito, but his second-half home run rate is unbearably high. Boston is betting on a positive rebound in that department, hoping it will result in mid-cycle results. Although down from Giolito's 2019-21 peak, he's missing bats at an above-average rate. Opposing hitters have walked 12.2% of his offers over the last two years, which tops the league mark of 10.8% for starting pitchers. His fastball is 93 MPH, and he misses a lot of bats with both his changeup and slider.
Giolito's performance over the past few seasons has been mixed. His life is not. The 6’6″ hurler has picked up the ball nearly every fifth day over the past six years. He has never been on the injured list for more than two weeks at any point in his MLB career. He's no match for the arm as a major leaguer. Giolito has started 29 or more games in each of the past five full schedules and has taken a full slate of 12 rotation turns in the shortened season. only Aaron Nola, Gerrit Cole, Jose Berrios And Patrick Corbin They have started more games in that stretch. He is eighth in innings pitched since 2018.
The proof of volume innings is a sensible addition to a talented but volatile Boston pitching staff. Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Brian Bello, Tanner Hook, Garrett Whitlock And Cutter Crawford Internal options for opening day rotation include: Sale has dealt with various injuries over the past few seasons. Pivetta, Houck, Whitlock and Crawford have all worked out of the bullpen at times. With the exception of Crawford, that group has generally found more success in long relief than in the rotation. Bellow's rotation spot wasn't in jeopardy, but his production dipped toward the end of his first full major league season.
That made adding a starter an offseason priority for chief baseball officer Craig Breslow. Socks were on the periphery Yoshinobu Yamamoto Market before he signed with the Dodgers. They were bound Jordan Montgomery Also, although recent reports suggest that they are heading towards a second tier. Giolito became Breslow's first significant free agent acquisition as Boston's front office leader. The Sox could still explore the rotation market — they've recently been linked to left-hander NPB Shoda Imanaka And an old friend James Paxton – but this signing could lead to them shifting their main focus to another need, such as a second floor.
The deal comes in line with MLBTR's projection of two years and $44MM. Two-year guarantees with opt-outs after the first season have become more common in recent years for priority rebound candidates. This gives the player more protection than a straight one-year deal, while allowing him to return to the market after one season if he bounces back.
Giolito turns 30 in July, so if he gets on track, he'll be in good shape for a lofty multi-year deal next winter. Since he is not eligible for the qualifying offer, the signing will not cost Boston any draft compensation. If he plays well enough to opt out a year from now, the Red Sox will make him a QO, allowing him to get a draft pick back if he spends just one year in Massachusetts.
The Red Sox's 2024 payroll is now around $187MM. Catalog resource. They're just shy of $200MM from a luxury tax perspective, leaving them $37MM short of next year's minimum threshold. Boston opened with a player payroll last season after topping the $181MM cap last season at $206MM. They do not exceed the luxury tax threshold in 2023.
Jeff Basson ESPN first reported that the Red Sox were signing Giolito to a two-year, $38.5MM guaranteed deal; They pass by The first was with salary structure and 2026 option Specifications. MassLive's Chris Cotillo First $1MM annual incentive and mentioned Purchase is used regardless of the option situation.
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