Ranking the 5 best starting pitchers the Red Sox should target at the trade deadline

The No. 1 need for this Boston Red Sox team is starting pitching. Any of these five arms would make this team much better.
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago White Sox / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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The Boston Red Sox just took two of three against the New York Mets to improve to 53-47 on the season. They're tied for last with the Yankees in the all-too-brutal AL East, but they're just two games back of the third Wild Card spot.

While trailing the pack isn't as fun as leading it, the Red Sox are right in the thick of postseason contention and as of this moment, are clear buyers at the trade deadline. They won't be buying for Shohei Ohtani, but will make a legitimate effort to get back to the postseason.

Chaim Bloom said what we all knew to reporters. The Red Sox will be looking to add a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Brayan Bello and James Paxton have both been great, and the Red Sox hope to get some of their injured starters back sooner than later, but the rotation has been this team's achillies heel all season long. For them to play meaningful October baseball, the rotation had to be addressed.

The Red Sox should have plenty of options in terms of starting pitchers they should acquire at the deadline, but five in particular stick out. Let's rank them from worst to best.

5) Red Sox trade deadline target: White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito

Not many pitchers have had more ups and downs in the majors than Lucas Giolito. Most years it feels like he's either great or horrible with no in-between. In 2018 his 6.08 ERA was the highest among all qualifiers, yet he followed that up with an outstanding 2019 season which saw him finish sixth in the AL Cy Young balloting.

Giolito had three straight top-11 finishes in the AL Cy Young balloting before a random awful year in 2022 when he had an ERA that approached 5.00. His 2023 season has been much better, and Giolito has made himself one of the prime trade candidates in the game.

The White Sox have been one of the more disappointing teams in the majors this season as they're 41-60 on the year. They're obvious sellers, and with Giolito hitting free agency at the end of the season, he's an obvious trade candidate.

The 29-year-old has a 3.79 ERA in 21 starts and 121 innings pitched this season. His 4.46 FIP indicates regression is coming, but a lot of that can be attributed to a recent rough outing against the Mets. Giolito gave up eight runs thanks to five walks (season high) and three home runs (also season high). He had a 4.21 FIP entering that start.

The veteran right-hander would instantly become the ace of this Red Sox staff, and considering his contract status, wouldn't break the bank prospect-wise to acquire.