Angels Make Big Splash, Acquire Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez From White Sox For Two Top Prospects


Image credit: Lucas Giolito (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Angels won’t be trading Shohei Ohtani this year. With the two-way star in the final year of his deal, the Angels are going for broke to get to the postseason.

The Angels acquired veteran righthanders Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the White Sox on Wednesday night in exchange for minor league catcher Edgar Quero and minor league lefthander Ky Bush. The deal comes hours after the Angels pulled Ohtani off the trade market and publicly declared their intention to compete for a postseason spot.

Giolito immediately fortifies an Angels rotation that ranks 18th in the majors with a 4.62 ERA while Lopez bolsters a bullpen that ranks 20th with a 4.18 ERA.

This is the second time Giolito and Lopez have been traded together. The Nationals traded them, along with righthander Dane Dunning, to the White Sox for Adam Eaton at the 2016 Winter Meetings.

Quero ranked as the Angels No. 2 prospect and No. 84 on the BA Top 100 Prospects. Bush was the Angels top pitching prospect and No. 3 prospect overall following the graduation of righthander Chase Silseth.

The Angels are 52-49 and four games out of the final American League wild card spot.


Lucas Giolito, RHP
Age: 29

Giolito hasn’t been able to replicate the form that earned him Cy Young Award votes three seasons in a row from 2019-21, but he’s still had a solid season. He went 6-6, 3.79 with 131 strikeouts and 42 walks in 121 innings for the White Sox despite pitching in front of one of the worst defenses in baseball. Giolito’s fastball, slider and changeup have all been solid across the board this year, although none have been overly dominant, and he’s shown solid durability by completing at least six innings in 14 of his 21 starts this year. His ERA and strikeout rate are both well above league average, while his walk rate is right in line with the league average. Giolito stands to benefit from playing in front of a better defense—although the Angels have had their share of defensive issues, as well—and should be at least a solid, consistent righthander who slots in behind Ohtani in the Angels rotation. He is under contract through the end of this year and will be a free agent after the season.

Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
Age: 29

A three-time Top 100 prospect coming up, Lopez failed to stick as a starter in the majors but reinvented himself as an effective late-game reliever. He has a 3.38 ERA over the last three seasons while primarily pitching in relief and is averaging a career-high 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings this season. Lopez is a hard-throwing righthander with a 97-101 mph fastball and an 87-90 mph power slider. He relies on power over precision and has struggled with walks, but he’s difficult to hit when he’s in the strike zone. He’s effective against both lefties (.191, .719 OPS) and righties (.228, .668 OPS) and is experienced pitching in high-leverage situations. He will join Matt Moore as a setup man for closer Carlos Estevez and is under contract through the rest of this season.


Edgar Quero, C
Age: 20

Quero signed with the Angels for $200,000 out of Cuba and immediately made a loud impression. He won the 2022 California League MVP Award in his first full professional season with Low-A Inland Empire and skipped over High-A to go straight to Double-A as a 20-year-old this season. He hit .245/.385/.332 with three home runs, 35 RBIs and more walks (54) than strikeouts (53) in 69 games for Rocket City. Quero is a bat-first, switch-hitting catcher with strong hands and an innate feel for the barrel. He makes consistent contact from both sides of the plate with a short, flat swing and rarely expands the strike zone. He’s primarily a contact hitter, but he has a chance to grow into double-digit home run power as he matures, particularly from the left side. Quero is an advanced hitter for his age, but his defense has further to go. He’s 5-foot-11 with a thick lower half and needs to improve his quickness behind the plate. He tries to pick balls out of the dirt rather than block them and his receiving is below-average. His arm strength is average, but his transfer, footwork and throwing accuracy all have room to improve. Quero’s advanced contact skills and strike-zone discipline give him a promising foundation to build off of. He projects to be an offense-first, everyday catcher as long as he keeps his body in check and improves his defense.

Ky Bush, LHP
Age: 23

A second-round pick out of St. Mary’s in 2021, Bush jumped straight to Double-A in his first full season last year and excelled as one of the Southern League’s top pitchers. He missed the first two months of this season with a lat strain, but he returned in early June and has begun to round into form. After struggling in his first few outings back, Bush has a 1.84 ERA over his last three starts at Rocket City. Bush is a big 6-foot-6, 240-pound lefthander with a well-rounded four-pitch mix. His fastball sits 92-95 mph with downhill plane out of his high, three-quarter arm slot. His best pitch is a sharp, plus slider in the mid 80s with late vertical break that gets swings and misses. He has feel for an average, fading changeup, although it is inconsistent, and he rounds out his arsenal with a fringy, upper-70s curveball he can land in the strike zone as a change-of-pace offering. Bush is a good athlete for his size, but his control has been inconsistent throughout his career and he’ll need to maintain his delivery and big body. He’s flashed average control at his best. Bush projects to be a solid back-of-the-rotation starter and could pitch above that in his best years. He should make his major league debut within the next year as long as he stays healthy.

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