Inching towards July, the Boston Red Sox are hanging around the fringe of playoff discussion. Despite holding last-place in the A.L. East, Boston (40-39) has mostly used a strong offense and bullpen to keep the team hovering above .500.
Heading into the season, an asset for the Red Sox was the starting pitching, at least in terms of the number of arms readily available. Injuries and struggles have proven that to be false, with Chris Sale on the 60-day IL, Corey Kluber struggling — now on the IL, too — and Nick Pivetta in the bullpen.
Brayan Bello has turned into an ace and Garrett Whitlock is throwing well. The same can be said about James Paxton, with Tanner Houck coming into his own before a scary injury sidelined him. That said, starting pitching is still a need. Shane Bieber has been discussed as a trade target, so here are three other starting pitchers the Red Sox should consider acquiring before the August 1 trade deadline.
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The next few weeks will determine if Boston is a big mover-and-shaker on the trade market. Hit a rough patch, and the team could be sellers. Or, if they continue to stay above .500, the action could be of the buying variety.
Even if Sale and Houck return in good form, depth for the rotation will be needed. And one option could be a pitcher the Red Sox recently faced.
Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox took a hard-luck loss on Friday night against the Red Sox. The Chicago defense made a couple of errors and Giolito was locked in a pitcher’s duel with Bello, resulting in a 3-1 Boston win.
Giolito pitched six innings, allowing only one earned run and three hits while striking out 10. Working mostly with a four-seam fastball, changeup, and slider, Giolito is 5-5 in 2023, with a 3.41 ERA and 99 strikeouts.
June has been an especially good month for the righthander. In four starts, Giolito has pitched 24 innings while allowing only four earned runs. He’s rang up 30 strikeouts while walking eight.
In his seventh big-league season, Giolito owns a career record of 58-52 and will be a free agent later this year. But, he’s in the prime of his career and has put up 11-9 records the last two season and has 378 strikeouts in this span. Giolito is a perfect candidate to be traded for and, if acquired by the Red Sox, hopefully a long-term solution in the rotation.
Chicago teammate Lance Lynn could also be an option in a trade but it is another A.L. Central pitcher who should be considered by the Red Sox.