MLB Trade Rumors made their predictions for the top 50 free agents and two of the three writers who made their best guesses chose Lucas Giolito to land with the New York Mets. The deal assigned to him was a two-year pact at $44 million.
Giolito has been one of the more unpredictable pitchers in the league since making his debut back in 2016 with the Washington Nationals. Much of it was spent with the Chicago White Sox where he went from pitching to a 6.13 ERA in 2018 to becoming an All-Star the following season in a year complete with a league leading 3 complete games and a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young race.
The three year span from 2019-2021 was the best of Giolito’s career. He went 29-21 for Chicago with a 3.47 ERA in 72 starts. Those days may be over as he is now coming off of two consecutive rough campaigns. If he is indeed on the Mets radar, is the predicted $44 million over two years a fair offer or an outrageous overpay for an unknown?
Why the Mets shouldn’t buy into this $44 million deal with Lucas Giolito
This isn’t a buy low deal for a guy who fell apart late last season. He went from a 3.79 ERA with the White Sox to a 6.89 ERA performance with the Los Angeles Angels and finally a 7.04 ERA stint with the Cleveland Guardians. While he did log a career-best 184.1 innings, this had shades of a very James Shields season than an actual productive one.
A two-year deal with Giolito at $44 million is buying “short” and not “low.” This begs the question of why even do it at all. Would the Mets be hoping he regains what made him special and can help them win in 2025? Better yet, maybe he and anyone else they do sign this offseason can turn it around and make the Mets quicker contenders in 2024.
Giolito has remained healthy in his career. Capable of eating up innings as well, he’d be a fit for the Mets and their battered bullpen that’s about a half-dozen arms short of reliable. This isn’t a good enough reason to take a chance on him. You only sign Giolito if you think he can help you win. You’re not wrong if you have some doubts.
The $22 million AAV seems exceptionally high for Giolito even if it’s only two seasons. It would put him even with what the Toronto Blue Jays are paying Kevin Gausman per year. Giolito would be earning more than Luis Castillo on average and even his Seattle Mariners teammate, Robbie Ray. Ray at least has a Cy Young.
The contract is simply a prediction as is the destination. Giolito doesn’t quite fit in with what the Mets did in the recent past with free agent pitcher additions. The Mets have only been signing pitchers coming off of good years. Giolito isn’t. And at only two years, couldn’t the Mets get as much from someone else at a cheaper rate?
A better solution would be to lower the AAV for two years or stop at one season. Two years and over $20 million per seems like one or the other will come back to bite the Mets. This is the kind of contract that just doesn’t sit right when the Mets will be looking to cut costs to some degree. Giolito isn’t the one to reward or gamble on.