The Red Sox's biggest offseason acquisition so far is already looking to a future outside of Boston.
Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito admitted to not being the most coveted free agent coming out of the 2023 season. And after two seasons of uncharacteristi production, he was right to say so.
Giolito is using the 2024 season to be on top of his future growth. He signed a short-term deal with the Red Sox to see if he could increase his value for another chance at free agency come 2025.
"I'm coming off a down season, and the year before that was a down season, too," Giolito said to NBCSports Boston. "So committing to a long-term deal at a value that I don't necessarily see myself at or not really having interest from teams in that type of deal, it didn't really make sense."
On Jan. 3, the Red Sox designated relief pitcher Mauricio Llovera for assignment to make room for Giolito on the 40-man roster. And if he pitches well this season, his tenure in Boston could end as swiftly as it began.
The Sox signed Giolito to a one-year deal worth $18 million with a $19 million player option for 2025. If Giolito pitches as well as he's shown he's capable of this year, he'll be back on the open market searching for a long-term contract entering his age-30 season. Not a bad place to be.
"I'm not a fan at all of my recent performances," Giolito said. "So I'd like to do the more short-term option and really kind of re-bolster and get back to what I know I can do in this league and then go from there."
Boston may be able to help Lucas Giolito get his career back on the right track
If Giolito can't improve his arm, his future may be more up in the air than it was this year. He's got to get back on the wagon to secure a deal that he believes is worth his time. Last season, Giolito was plagued by the long ball. He was taken deep 41 times in his 184.1 innings pitched.
Something has to change and he's trusting the Red Sox organization to make it happen. With a new Chief Baseball Officer in charge and a new pitching coach to help him out in Andrew Bailey, the right-hander has the resources at his disposal to turn his last two seasons around. Giolito also performed uncharacteristically well against the AL East in 2023 — a set of teams he'll be seeing more with Boston, and maybe why the Sox felt so confident in pursuing him.
The best possible outcome for Giolito is that he rights the ship and gets out while the getting is good. With any luck, his pitching success story will bring the Red Sox back into the conversation with other available starting pitchers in the future. Boston could leave this deal with the potential to improve its rotation if Giolito's plan works.
But for everything to go according to plan, both the Red Sox and Giolito will have to put in the effort. All in all, we should be bracing for this to be a one-year relationship and nothing more.