Potential Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher free agent fits

These three free agent starting pitchers could be potential targets for the Arizona Diamondbacks
Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three
Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three / Elsa/GettyImages
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RHP Lucas Giolito

Lucas Giolito
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

Lucas Giolito suited up for three teams last season, but he could suit up for another one soon. The 29-year-old pitched well enough in his eighth season with the White Sox to get dealt to the Los Angeles Angels leading up to the July 31st trade deadline, though his time on the west coast was brief. Just over a month in, the Angels DFA'd Giolito once they fell out of postseason contention. Dbacks’ General Manager, Mike Hazen, reportedly put in a claim for him, per John Gambardo of Arizona Sports, but the Cleveland Guardians picked him up to close out the regular season with their priority on the waiver wire. Giolito couldn’t carry his solid first-half performance with Chicago into the second half with either team. In six starts a piece with LA and Cleveland, Giolito pitched to a 2-10 record and a league-worst in standard stats like ERA (7.13) and WHIP (1.58) among 51 qualified starters. A lot went wrong for Giolito in the second-half, especially his home run total. In a dozen starts post-July, batters went yard 29 times off Giolito in just 66 innings for a whopping 2.98 HR/9, by far the highest rate in MLB during that two-month stretch.

Keeping the ball in the field was not a new struggle for Giolito. In his major-league career, Giolito has averaged 1.47 HR/9, which ranks second-highest among the 200-plus starters this century who’ve thrown nearly as many innings (1,000). Coming to Arizona might help crack down on the homers with Chase Field being one of the least homer-friendly parks in baseball in recent years, ranking 27th of the 30 MLB stadiums, per Statcast’s 3-year rolling park factors, while Guaranteed Rate Field, where Giolito spent most of his career with the White Sox, ranks slightly above-average as the 14th-most home run-friendly ballpark. Pitching in an environment that minimizes his achilles heel could go a long way for Giolito. He is coming off consecutive disappointing seasons, pitching to a 4.89 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 66 starts, but the California native has shown upside in the past. From 2019 through the 2021 season, Giolito held hitters to a weak .208/.275/.375 slashline, while also striking out 30.9% of the batters he faced.  

While his performance has wavered throughout his MLB career, Giolito’s health has remained consistent. Since 2018 - his first full year in the bigs - Giolito has tallied the eighth-most innings pitched in baseball. Adding a durable starter to the mix is a must for the Dbacks, who dealt with their fair share of pitching injuries last season - Zac Gallen was the only Diamondbacks starter to meet all his starts last season.  A move to Arizona could do the trick for Giolito - and for the Dbacks.