What the Angels and White Sox Got in the Lucas Giolito-Reynaldo López Trade

Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox

One of the biggest names available this summer came off the board on July 26, when the Angels picked up California native Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo Lopez for two top prospects: Edgar Quero and Ky Bush. Here’s a closer look at how the Angels and White Sox made out.

The Angels’ Return

It’s rather fitting that Giolito and López are packaged together out of Chicago, given that the two were originally Nationals pitching prospects and part of the return the Sox got when Adam Eaton was shipped out to Washington.

We’ll start with Giolito. The 29-year-old struggled with control in his first full MLB season in 2019, but turned it around in 2019 and became a very valuable starter in Chicago. The California native finished sixth in the AL Cy Young award vote in 2019 after he struck out 228 batters over 176.2 IP, and turned in solid results in 2020 and 2021. Giolito had himself a challenging campaign in 2022, but he settled down to have a nice season in Chicago in 2023.

When on his game, Giolito can flash three above-average offerings: a mid-90s fastball, a changeup, and slider. All three can get outs, including his slider that he’s used more in this season than he has in his MLB career. It drops more than a regular slider and doesn’t have a lot of horizontal movement, but it’s well-defined, tough to pick up, and gets a lot of misses.

The Angels rotation has been inconsistent this season, but Giolito is the kind of name that can effectively slot into a #2 starter role with Los Angeles.

As for López, the 29-year-old found great success last season as a reliever. López struck out 63 over 65.1 IP and walked just 11 (1.5 BB/9), but his command has not been up to par in 2023. López walked 22 over 42 innings this season and his ERA jumped to 4.29.

Nonetheless, the hard-throwing right-hander has the tools to be an effective arm for the Angels bullpen, needed given the injuries Los Angeles has suffered.

Giolito is set to make his Angels debut on July 28. To make room for both Giolito and López, Ben Joyce was placed on the 60-day IL and 2021 AL All-Star Jared Walsh was designated for assignment.

The White Sox’s Return

  • C Edgar Quero (.246/.386/.332 with three home runs and 35 RBI in 70 games (AA))
  • SP Ky Bush (7.20 ERA, 1.26 WHIP. 42 K over 30 IP (AA))

In return for the two pitchers, the White Sox picked up two of the Angels’ best prospects in Edgar Quero and Ky Bush.

We’ll start with Quero, a switch-hitter that performed exceptionally well last season. With Inland Empire (A), Quero hit .312/.435/.530 with 17 home runs and 54 extra base hits in the hitter-friendly California League. This season, his numbers have dipped against stiffer competition in AA.

Quero does possess good bat control and projects to be a hitter that can get on-base and make an impact at the plate. 

Ky Bush, meanwhile, is the other piece that is headed to the White Sox organization. At 6’6’’, the left-hander doesn’t have premium velocity but can operate in the mid-90s. Public scouting reports laud his slider, and he does have the potential to flash four above-average offerings (h/t MLB.com)

MLB.com rates Quero as the White Sox’s second-best prospect, while Bush came in at #5.

The Verdict

The Angels could have opted to go down a different road, but opted to retain Shohei Ohtani and make a push for the playoffs. Obviously, there’s risk — in a different scenario, the Angels could have received a significant haul for Ohtani and re-tooled for 2024 and beyond. Instead, the Angels will attempt to make it back to the postseason and hope that doing so will keep Ohtani in town.

But aside from Ohtani, Los Angeles gave up two premium prospects for two pitchers that are set to hit the open market after this season. While the White Sox made out great for two rentals, the Angels have put it all on the line to make it work with this group.