3 mid-tier starters the San Diego Padres should target during free agency, 1 they should avoid

The San Diego Padres need rotation help behind Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish. Here are some pitchers they should consider bringing in, and one they should avoid.
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Padres should target Guardians starter Lucas Giolito in free agency

Lucas Giolito's 2023 season was looking good ... until it didn't. In his first 21 starts with the White Sox, the right-hander had a 3.79 ERA in 121 innings pitched. In his six starts as an Angel, he had a 6.89 ERA. That number rose to 7.04 after Cleveland got him to finish the season. His season ERA of 4.88 was not good, no way around that.

What makes Giolito a pitcher San Diego should target is his upside, and his durability. At his best, Giolito is a Cy Young-caliber pitcher. He finished in the top-11 of the AL Cy Young balloting each season from 2019-2021. Back-to-back down years has certainly lessened his value to the point where he's now a mid-rotation guy, but there's always the chance he can revert back to his all-star self.

Even if he doesn't, the Padres should still trust Giolito to at the very least take the ball every fifth day. That's something that can't be said for both Darvish and Musgrove. He's made at least 29 starts in each of the last five 162-game seasons (excluding 2020) and has thrown at least 160 innings in those years as well. He's thrown at least 170 innings in four of the five years, including the 184.1 he gave this season.

Giolito putting up an ERA around 4.00 while making 30+ starts would be a valuable addition. He's still just 29 years old and isn't far off of being one of the best pitchers in the AL. He'd be a very worthwhile addition.