Where does Guardians' Lucas Giolito rank among free agent starting pitchers?

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages
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Once upon a time, impending free agent starting pitcher Lucas Giolito was going to command a multi-year deal with a high salary. But back-to-back years with lesser performances have left Gioilito in a spot where his free-agent prospects are not as bountiful as they may have been. This has led to a less-than-optimistic outlook about his impending free-agent endeavor.

When it comes to ranking Lucas Giolito among other free-agent starting pitchers, Giolito finds himself inside the Top 10, but not by much. Bleacher Report's Kerry Miller has Giolito slotted as the seventh-best free-agent starting pitcher. Miller does note that Giolito was pitching well before the All-Star Break but ultimately ended up with numbers similar to that of 2022. This led to a comparison to a pitcher whose free-agent contract is considered one of the worst in baseball. 

"In the end, he had an ERA almost identical to the 4.90 mark he posted in 2022. The only other pitcher to log at least 125 innings pitched with an ERA north of 4.75 in each of the past two seasons was Patrick Corbin—and goodness knows we had much to say last season about his drastic fall from grace."

Kerry Miller on Lucas Giolito

Being mentioned in the same sentence as Patrick Corbin is far from complimentary. In fact, it may be considered an insult, considering how far downhill his career has gone after his initial season with the Washington Nationals in 2019. It's safe to say that the New York Yankees are happy he opted to sign elsewhere and not end up in The Bronx.

There is one thing that needs to be addressed when it comes to Giolito's performance in 2023. Giolito was starting to look like his pre-2022 self prior to being traded. Having to adjust to a new catcher, as well as a complete group of defenders is not easy. It is possible that his struggles are directly attributed to his relocations during the season. It is possible that he pitches better wherever he lands next with a proper ramp-up via Spring Training. But again, the fact that Giolito is in the same company as Corbin is not inspiring.