Mets free agent miss turned out to be a blessing

He's set to undergo season ending surgery on his elbow.
The Mets had strong interest in Lucas Giolito before he signed a 2-year contract with the Boston Red Sox.
The Mets had strong interest in Lucas Giolito before he signed a 2-year contract with the Boston Red Sox. / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Sometimes the best moves made are those that aren't made. The New York Mets did not land one of their free agent targets in All-Star starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, but the team appears to have dodged a bullet.

The Mets had strong interest in Giolito during the holidays as they shopped for starting pitching depth after missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and they even made an offer or him. However, the Mets were not matching what the Boston Red Sox agreed to, which was a 2-year, $38.5 million contract.

Bad news came out of Red Sox camp last week that Giolito has a partially torn UCL and flexor strain and will undergo season-ending elbow surgery on Tuesday, though there's no word yet on whether or not he is getting Tommy John surgery.

Ex-Mets free agent target Lucas Giolito's injury is a big problem the team is glad they avoided

There was a sense of panic in Mets world this offseason when they were constantly outbid by other teams to add pitching help. It came after the Mets missed out on the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes, where the superstar Japanese free agent signed with the vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers. Then came news around New Year's that Giolito signed with the Red Sox.

The Mets responded a week after the New Year when they chose free agent Sean Manaea as their depth option on a cheaper contract ($14 million a year for Manaea compared to nearly $20 million for Giolito from the Red Sox) to round out the rotation that also added Luis Severino and Adrian Houser this winter.

Giolito's career has been an up-and-down one. He came up with the Washington Nationals as one of the most highly-touted prospects in baseball at the time of his debut in 2016. He was then traded to the Chicago White Sox in the trade that sent Adam Eaton trade. He then pitched for six and a half seasons on the South Side of Chicago, were he was named an All-Star in 2019 and received votes for the Cy Young Award each year from 2019 to 2021.

2023 was a wild year for Giolito, pitching to a 4.88 ERA with the Chicago White Sox, the Los Angeles Angels, and the Cleveland Guardians. His numbers were much better in Chicago before things fell apart after he was traded by the White Sox to the Angels and the Guardians claiming him off waivers from the Angels afterwars.

So the Red Sox gave him a ridiculous contract that pays him nearly $20 million a year for inconsistent results? The difference in operation between the Mets under Steve Cohen and the Red Sox under owner John Henry (who oversaw the ill-fated Mookie Betts trade and letting Xander Bogaerts walk) tells you everything you need to know about the directions of both franchises.

The Mets proved smart by staying away from him. The Red Sox, who seemingly changed Giolito's mechanics for the worse, were not.