If the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to bolster their starting rotation by adding former All-Star and three-time top-15 Cy Young finisher Lucas Giolito, they're going to have to outbid a crowded field at the 2023 MLB trade deadline. But that's nothing new.
LA has managed to maintain a top-tier farm system despite nearly endless churn, graduating stars like James Outman and Miguel Vargas while still being regarded among baseball's top player development machines.
That means that if they want a pitcher like Giolito, who's approaching free agency, they'll have the ammunition to go out and get the Santa Monica native and Harvard-Westlake graduate.
While the White Sox pipe dream remains Dylan Cease, as this bleak team spirals and considers their options, he's under control through 2025 and his fastball's been remarkably wonky, turning his ERA to soup in 2023. Giolito is a safer play and a shorter-term commitment, and the Dodgers should be able to pounce with a competitive trade package.
This Dodgers trade package could win bidding for Lucas Giolito
Giolito has bounced back swimmingly in 2023 from his worst MLB season since his breakout -- and even that year wasn't so bad. The right-hander's 2022 season featured a supremely unlucky 4.90 ERA; he lost command of his trademark changeup, for a spell, but still struck out 177 batters in 161.2 innings and finished with a 4.06 FIP.
This year, he's back in peak form and touching 97. That means, while the Dodgers can probably avoid surrendering Diego Cartaya, they're going to have to call the White Sox with a few tempting guarantees.
Either Ryan Pepiot or Gavin Stone would have to highlight this package -- and it'd probably be Stone's higher upside that eventually seals the deal. Add in two more intriguing top-20 talents -- maybe everyone's favorite breakout right-hander River Ryan and utility infielder Jorbit Vivas -- and we could have something here.
Then, once Giolito's in the building, the Dodgers can get to talking extension. Why not give Jack Flaherty and Max Fried a call, too? Round up the whole crew.
Considering Giolito's early lead in the clubhouse as the most impressive arm being dangled, expect the pitching-poor Red Sox to be hot on his trail, as well as the injury-decimated Yankees, upstart Baltimore Orioles and ... every other contender.
Baltimore might possess the only farm system that can rival LA's in this discussion, though, so Andrew Friedman had better hope those guys still have an aversion to surrendering their crown jewels.