The first big domino of the 2023 MLB trade deadline fell late Wednesday night and it was the Los Angeles Angels of all teams making the first big splash.
Just a couple of hours after Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reported that the Angels were taking All-Star Shohei Ohtani off the trade block and keeping him, they acquired pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Los Angeles’ No. 2 prospect catcher Edgar Quero and No. 3 prospect, pitcher Ky Bush.
The Angels prove they are going all-in to Ohtani and the fanbase
Acquiring Giolito gives manager Phil Nevin another arm in a rotation that has been up and down this season after Ohtani. In 21 starts this season for Chicago, Giolito is 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA in 121 innings with 131 strikeouts, and 51 runs allowed and opponents are hitting .232 against him. His last start for the White Sox was Sunday in a 5-4 12-inning loss to the Minnesota Twins where he worked six shutout innings with nine strikeouts and three walks.
Also coming with Giolito is López, a veteran reliever. He’s 2-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 43 appearances with 52 strikeouts, four saves, and 10 holds. Opponents are hitting just .213 this season off of him. This could be a sneaky good part of the deal for the Angels who need bullpen help.
The next four days are going to be big for Los Angeles in terms of the Wild Card race. After a doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers Thursday, they begin a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada, and the team they are four games behind for the final playoff spot. It’s clear that going all-in is proving to Ohtani, who more than likely was never going to be traded, that the organization is trying to win, and getting Mike Trout back soon will only help that cause for the rest of this season and beyond.
White Sox get two of the Angels’ top three prospects
The case could be made that the winner of this trade is the White Sox. Giving up Giolito was almost a given by August 1, but Chicago gets two of the three Angels’ top prospects back for a player in Giolito that will be a free agent following the season. Of course, he could re-sign over the winter with Los Angeles, but this is a big risk giving up Quero and Bush.
Quero is a switch-hitter that is slashing .245/.385/.332 with 13 doubles and 35 RBI with Rocket City Trash Pandas in Double-A. The 65th-ranked prospect overall has power to all fields and is a rising star at 20 years old. Bush also plays in Rocket City and projects to be a middle-of-the-rotation arm in the majors.
Angels and White Sox grades
This is a good deal for the Angels for the final two months of 2023, but the real winner could end up being the White Sox long-term. This seems like a pretty big overpay by Los Angeles, but it’s a move that needed to be done to try and win on Ohtani’s contract season. Expect more moves from the Angels and certainly the White Sox over the next five days.
Angels Grade: B+
White Sox Grade: A