June 17, 2024

Angels acquire pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López from White Sox for prospects

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels acquired right-handers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night, signaling their determination to contend for a playoff spot with Shohei Ohtani.

The Angels traded two of their top minor league prospects – left-hander Ky Bush and catcher Edgar Quero – to the White Sox, who got a solid return for two talented veteran pitchers playing their final season before unrestricted free agency.

Los Angeles announced the deal shortly after Sports Illustrated cited an unidentified source in reporting the Angels will not trade Ohtani, the 2021 AL MVP. Ohtani will be an unrestricted free agent this winter, but the Angels clearly are pulling out all the stops to contend for their first playoff appearance in the two-way superstar’s six major league seasons.

Giolito is the centerpiece of the deal for the Halos, who were eager to add an experienced starting pitcher. The Los Angeles-area native was among the top available names on the market as an impending free agent unlikely to re-sign with the White Sox.

Giolito is 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA this season in 21 starts for Chicago. His 131 strikeouts are 10th in the AL, and he has limited opponents to a .211 average in his last nine starts.

Giolito is from Santa Monica, and he pitched alongside Atlanta’s Max Fried and St. Louis’ Jack Flaherty in high school in Studio City.

Giolito spent his past seven big league seasons in Chicago’s rotation, winning 59 games. He was an All-Star selection in 2019, and he threw a no-hitter on Aug. 25, 2020. He has finished in the top 11 in AL Cy Young voting three times in his career.

“Gio’s been a workhorse for us. I call him Mr. Consistency,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “He’s the same guy every single day. A great teammate. He gives us everything we’ve got. He’s rooting for his teammates out on the bench. The Angels got a good guy. And they did in Lopey, too.”

The Angels’ six-man rotation has been inconsistent this season after a strong 2022 campaign, with even Ohtani having stretches of ineffectiveness. Giolito will join Ohtani, Tyler Anderson, Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers in the rotation.

Giolito’s most recent start was last Sunday, making him a likely candidate to pitch this weekend during the Angels’ important series in Toronto. Los Angeles must play a doubleheader in Detroit on Thursday after weather worries wiped out Wednesday’s game.

The Angels (52-49) have won six of their last seven to move four games behind the Blue Jays for the final AL wild-card spot, although the Yankees and Red Sox are also ahead of Los Angeles.

López will be another tested, veteran arm in the Angels’ bullpen. He is 2-5 with a 4.29 ERA and four saves in 43 appearances this season, and he has made eight consecutive scoreless appearances.

Giolito and López also were traded together in December 2016, when they were sent from the Washington Nationals to Chicago along with Dane Dunning in exchange for Adam Eaton.

“Certainly not where any of us in the organization thought when this year started we would be come the trade deadline,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “But clearly moves like these in terms of putting ourselves in the best position going forward are essential and we are certainly please to add Bush and Quero.”

The trade was announced after struggling White Sox dropped to 41-62 with a 10-7 loss to the Cubs. They have lost five in a row and 13 of 17 overall.

Bush, 23, was a second-round pick in 2021, and he is 1-4 with a 7.20 ERA while playing for two minor league teams this season. Quero is considered a future major league catcher, but his path to the show in Anaheim would be blocked by Logan O’Hoppe, who showed tremendous promise as a rookie early this season before a torn labrum sidelined him until next month.

“Quero is (among) the more highly regarded catching prospects in the game, at age 20, switch-hitting catcher who is one of the youngest players in Double-A,” Hahn said.

This aggressive trade is the latest move by the Angels to get rid of their reputation for wasting the talents of MVPs Mike Trout and Ohtani. Owner Arte Moreno’s club has the majors’ longest streaks of consecutive losing seasons (seven) and consecutive non-playoff seasons (eight, tied with Detroit).

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