Can Dodgers, White Sox still match for trade after Lucas Giolito's LA homecoming goes awry?

Without Giolito as a centerpiece, it's less appealing.
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

Things were all set up for the Dodgers and White Sox. The Dodgers need middle infield help? Former batting champion Tim Anderson is likely available ahead of free agency, amidst a down year. The Dodgers need a bullpen piece? Kendall Graveman seems like a logical fit, or perhaps even a reunion with supreme sneerer Joe Kelly.

Of course, the whole trade fit hinged on the centerpiece: starter Lucas Giolito, who would make a Chicago/LA deal a success no matter who flanked him. If Anderson's struggles with the bat continued, who would care? Team defense would be shored up, and Giolito would be doing an expert job covering for the losses of Dustin May and Walker Bueher. If a bullpen wild card goes wrong? Hopefully, the Dodgers would've plucked a few more of them up in other deals (and maybe whoever Giolito bumps out of the rotation turns into a momentary 'pen ace).

Well ... all that flipped on a dime when the White Sox slightly misread the map, botching the ending of the "Giolito comes back home" story that had already been written and sending him further down the freeway to Anaheim on Wednesday night.

It's no surprise that, hours after Shohei Ohtani was pulled off the market and every other team in MLB joined the Dodgers in the "eliminated" pool, the Angels went all in with both Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. If all goes well and the Angels surge, Giolito would seem to be a candidate to re-sign, too. That puts a little pressure on a second Dodgers offseason plan.

Dodgers miss out on Lucas Giolito; Angels acquire two pitchers from White Sox

The cost for a pair of rental arms, in this market, is apparently Anaheim's Nos. 2 and 3 prospects (though Edgar Quero, a catcher with defensive question marks, ranking second is an indictment on their system). If there's any non-Ohtani rental worth paying an elevated price for, though, it's Giolito, who's rebounded with 2.7 bWAR this season, lowering his ERA a full run year-over-year.

Don't be fooled, though. There's still a match here between the Dodgers and Sox, even without Giolito involved. All Chicago cost themselves was a chance to plunder the upper echelon of the Dodgers' farm. Tim Anderson feels less appealing, too (to say the least), following LA's acquisitions of Amed Rosario and Kiké Hernández.

These two teams are still a match for bullpen pieces, but the Dodgers likely won't be willing to chip away at their top pitching prospects (from Miller to Sheehan to Nastrini) in order to acquire fungible bullpen pieces. Best we can do is River Ryan. But, hey, that's what you get from bending to the Angels' whims a week ahead of the deadline.