Most Blue Jays fans will be in agreement that their team has underperformed as a whole so far this season. It doesn't help when you're playing in the toughest division in baseball, but more should be expected when considering the talent and payroll.
Regardless, the Blue Jays will undoubtedly be buyers ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline. Qualifying for the playoffs is the bare minimum for a team with bigger goals.
One area the Blue Jays will be focused on, is strengthening the rotation. This has become even more imperative ever since Alek Manoah's unexpected implosion. (The Blue Jays have also been exceptionally fortunate with no starts being missed through injury.)
With this in mind, who can or should the Blue Jays target ahead of the trade deadline? Here are eight starters to consider, including expiring contracts, long-shots, a familiar face and underrated options:
NB - All statistics and rankings up to and including July 7.
When it comes to resumes, Lucas Giolito can point to being a 2012 first round draft pick, a 2019 All-Star selection and a no-hitter in 2020. Understandably though, critics will counter by saying you can't live in the past and asking what have you done for me lately?
In this respect, Giolito still has a lot to offer based on his pitching this season. He has proved to be a saving grace on a subpar White Sox ballclub, leading all pitchers in wins, quality starts, inning pitched and WAR.
Of course it's one thing to be the best pitcher on a disappointing team. However, it's worth noting the 28-year-old's 2.5 WAR would also lead all Blue Jays pitchers, while his 3.50 ERA would be tied for second-best among starters.
Further, it's worth noting that Giolito has improved as the 2023 season has progressed. June was his best month yet, highlighted by a 2.32 ERA and 1.000 WHIP.
In terms of the arsenal at his disposal, the Burbank, California native's best weapons are his fastball and curveball. He also offers tremendous size and an intimidating presence on the mound.
Giolito is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Combined with the White Sox being a non-contender, he is a candidate the Blue Jays seriously need to consider.