Red Sox Ace ‘Could Miss 2024 Season,’ Could Turn to Star Free Agent

Guardians pitcher Lucas Giolito during 1st inning against the Royals.

Getty Guardians pitcher Lucas Giolito during 1st inning against the Royals.

With the start of the MLB season around the corner, teams and players are in full swing of spring training preparations. However, for Boston Red Sox‘s ace Lucas Giolito, his season could already be coming to an end.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan posted on Tuesday, March 5, “Brutal news: Initial imaging showed Boston Red Sox starter Lucas Giolito likely has a partially torn UCL and flexor strain and could miss the 2024 season.”

This type of injury would be a major blow to both Giolito and the Red Sox, who were counting on Giolito to lead their rotation this season. Passan went on to say, “Giolito, who signed a two-year deal with Boston, may need surgery to repair the right-elbow damage.”

Bleacher Report’s Mike Chiari analyzed the potential loss to Boston, writing, “Given their decision to trade Sale, Giolito was in line to potentially serve as Red Sox’s ace in 2024, but that possibility is now very much in question.”

There have been questions around the Red Sox offseason as they remained mainly in the background, but according to Chiari, “Signing Giolito was one of the organization’s biggest moves.”

Given the lack of optimism around the injury, the Red Sox will now have to look internally to replace the ace or bring in outside help to ease the blow (more on this below).

Major Setback for Lucas Giolito’s Comeback Story

Giolito signed a 2-year, $38.5 million deal with the Red Sox this offseason after a tumultuous end to his career with the Chicago White Sox. The 29-year-old was once considered one of the top arms in the game but found himself struggling in 2023.

Chiari wrote, “From 2019 through 2021, Giolito was among the best pitchers in the American League, finishing 11th or better in the Cy Young Award voting in each season.”

The 8-year veteran split 2023 between the White Sox, the Los Angeles Angels and the Cleveland Guardians. He was waived by the Angels in a salary dump towards the end of the season and finished the season with the Guardians.

“Overall, he made a career-high 33 starts, going 8-15 with a 4.88 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 204 strikeouts over 184.1 innings,” Chiari wrote. Overall, these are not horrible numbers, specifically the strikeouts and innings pitched, but they are not what Giolito has been accustomed too.

The deal with the Red Sox contained a player opt-out that would have allowed him to retest the market if he was able to regain his early career form. Now, he potentially needs to first conquer an elbow injury.

Red Sox Linked to Free Agent Jordan Montgomery

The Red Sox finished in dead last of the loaded AL East during a lackluster 2023 season. The addition of Giolito was an attempt to chase down the likes of the Baltimore Orioles.

Chiari wrote, “The Red Sox inked the 29-year-old veteran to a two-year, $38.5 million contract in hopes that he could potentially replace the production lost from trading veteran Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves.”

The Red Sox will now enter scramble mode to fill the hole at the top of their roster. They could turn to Garret Whitlock or Justin Slaten, who is having a strong spring training, to fill the hole.

Chiari reiterated another potential move that the Red Sox have been flirting with even prior to the injury, “Montgomery, who previously pitched for the rival New York Yankees, has reportedly been on Boston’s radar recently.”

Chiari also brought up Blake Snell, who is also still a free agent, but focused on Montgomery. “The Red Sox have reportedly been in contact with Montgomery,” Chiari explained.

Chiari believes, “It would be a big move for them since the big lefty went 10-11 with a 3.20 ERA last season and would be more than capable of stepping into the ace role.”

Montgomery would immediately step into the No. 1 starter role for the Red Sox and give them a shot at competing in the AL East.

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