Lucas guolito signs a 2 years deal with Red Sox for $38.5M

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Lucas Giolito’s true introduction to the Red Sox will come in late March in Seattle, when he, presumably, starts one of the first four games of the 2024 season.

On Wednesday, the 29-year-old right-hander had his meet and greet with the Boston media. Even over Zoom, his confidence was clear, despite his struggles of the past two seasons.

Red Sox finalize deal with Giolito

The free-agent acquisition gives the Sox a starting pitcher who could wind up at or near the top of the rotation if he can regain his White Sox form of 2019-21.

Without question, the table is set for Giolito to be one of the rebound performers of the 2024 season after signing a one-year contract that includes a player option for ’25.

Here are some takeaways from Giolito’s virtual press conference:

Why the Red Sox?
Giolito made no secret about the fact the Red Sox were by far the most aggressive pursuer of his services. And the idea of a short-term deal appealed to Giolito, given his recent performance.

“The Red Sox were, honestly, probably one of, if not the first team, to reach out to me and my representation showing interest,” Giolito said. “I’m not a fan at all of my recent performances. So I [liked] doing the more short term option and to really get back to what I know I can do in this league and then go from there.
I had a really, really interesting, and I’d say amazing, Zoom call. Kind of like the pitch meeting, where I got to get a feel for the organization. I got to meet some of the staff, and I really liked everything I heard. I feel like it’s just a great fit for me, what I’m trying to do, getting back to the type of pitcher I know I can be.”

How many other teams showed interest that compared with the level of the Red Sox?

Giolito didn’t want to get specific, but he admitted there weren’t many, if any. Instead, he pointed to his positive impressions of Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow, manager Alex Cora and pitching coach Andrew Bailey.

“I don’t know if I want to really share that. Sorry, I’m not trying to be rude or anything, but it wasn’t very many, I’ll say that,” Giolito said. “For me, I really, really was sold on the Red Sox philosophy. Talking with [Cora], talking with Andrew Bailey, talking with Craig, that initial meeting really got me excited.”
How to make the homers go away?
Of all the things that stuck about Giolito’s rough ’23 season, split among three different teams, the biggest was the number 41 — as in allowing an American League-leading 41 home runs. His previous career high was 27.

“That was the result of too much falling behind, too much missing middle-middle, missing middle-in, just not executing,” Giolito said. “It was kind of an astounding number, the number of home runs I gave up. I just need to get to a point where I’m more consistently executing pitches where they need to be and sequencing better, and then we’ll be able to bring that number down significantly.”

Expectations … and the bonus
Breslow has not spoken to the media since the Giolito deal became official, but the pitcher articulated what he believes his new boss is expecting from him.

“I’d say being a starting pitcher that’s going to go out and throw a ton of innings,” Giolito said. “I think that what Craig was telling me is he’s excited for me to bring stability in the rotation, throw innings and then, the big bonus is going to be me getting back to having the good stuff I know I have and throwing really, really quality innings.”
Clear mind
Not only did Giolito endure the challenge of pitching for three teams last year (White Sox, Angels, Guardians) but he went through a divorce, as he announced on Instagram at the All-Star break. Giolito feels strong mentally going into the coming season.

“I’d say the mind is way more clear. The last couple of months of the year were kind of a weird whirlwind for me,” Giolito said. “I’m not going to make any excuses for poor performance because guys get traded all the time, and they go out and pitch great or hit great or whatever it is. I just think that’s now all out of the way, now that I’ve found my home here.”

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