If there’s a single reason to pinpoint why there isn’t a World Series Championship banner for the 2022 Philadelphia Phillies hanging at Citizens Bank Ballpark, the starting pitching is the reason. The Phillies had plenty of options in last year’s postseason but quantity doesn’t beat quality.
The Phillies couldn’t trust anyone other than Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. This season feels a bit different with Taijuan Walker pitching well and Ranger Suarez doing the same. Even so, it’s that fifth spot in the rotation where the Phillies feel weak. Can Cristopher Sanchez actually be trusted?
More so, the Phillies haven’t gotten an ace performance from any of their starters. The Nola and Wheeler duo have been inconsistent throughout the year. Aiming big, the Phillies should be in the market to add one of these perfect starting pitchers to the rotation while avoiding these other two “fits” who are less than ideal.
Perfect Phillies trade target candidate: Lucas Giolito
Regarded as one of the best trade pieces available this summer, Lucas Giolito is on the verge of turning 29 and destined to land with a contender. The longtime Chicago White Sox pitcher has been everything from a Cy Young contender, finishing sixth in 2019, to a much lesser pitcher.
Sandwiched between a 6.13 ERA season in 2018 and his 4.90 ERA performance last year are three very good campaigns from Giolito from 2019-2021. He’s kind of like Nola in this way. He’s a box of chocolates type of pitcher. Year to year, you’re not quite sure what you’re going to get.
This season has been one of the good ones for Giolito. Call it a “caramel filled” season instead of one of those rancid coconut pieces of chocolate. At 6-5 with a 3.50 ERA through 18 starts, he is one of the league’s most attractive trade chips. If there was any reason to stay away from him it’s that the White Sox will get a lot of offers for this rental. The Phillies will need to meet what could turn out to be a ridiculous asking price.
Why Lucas Giolito is a perfect fit: He doesn’t have to be “the guy” but he also has the ability to be “the guy” for the team down the stretch. Giolito is on the same tier as Nola and Wheeler who have ace material but are better off with equal or better pitchers around them.