Reclamation projects: 5 free agent hitters and 4 pitchers the Blue Jays should pursue

Which previously struggling players should the Blue Jays take a chance on in free agency that could bring surprising value to the ballclub in 2024?

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages
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Lucas Giolito

As the former ace of the Chicago White Sox pitching staff, Lucas Giolito has been among the best pitchers in recent years in the league. He was also one of the hottest commodities at the trade deadline this past season when contending clubs were looking to augment their starting pitching for the stretch run. After all, with a career 1077 strikeouts in 1013.2 innings of work and a 1.25 WHIP, along with consistently maintaining an ERA below 4.00 in four of the past five MLB seasons, he was as steady as it gets.

However, Giolito totally fell apart after being dealt to the Angels at the 2023 trade deadline, as he went 1-5 with a 6.89 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, giving up 25 earned runs including 10 home runs in just six starts. He practically single-handedly knocked the Angels out of playoff contention in the process. Eventually he was waived by the Angels, with the Cleveland Guardians picking him up for the final month of the season. Ultimately, he would be just as bad in that stint as well, with numbers closely mirroring those put up in Los Angeles.

Given his proven track record in recent years, perhaps Giolito just wasn’t comfortable after leaving the city he had played almost his entire MLB career with. Nevertheless, for someone with his skill and talent level, they don’t just suddenly forget how to pitch overnight. As a result, the Jays may be able to buy low with Giolito and reap the benefits of having a potential ace pitching in their back-end of the rotation for 2024.