Guardians Get Pitching Help Through Waiver Wire

September 2, 2023

Tony Camino

Top Angels pitchers claimed off waivers for the stretch run

The Los Angeles Angels feel like their season is over and have opted to waive some expiring contracts instead of paying them for the last month of the season. Of the six Angels waived, the Guardians added three, and arguably the three best pitchers available on the market. Thanks to their favorable waiver position, the Guardians were able to acquire as many players as they wanted, as only losing teams were ahead of them in the waiver order. While they will have to spend over $3 million for just one month of three players, these moves could significantly help them catch the Twins if they continue to struggle. The Guardians have added the following players from waivers.

  • SP Lucas Giolito
  • RHP Reynaldo Lopez
  • LHP Matt Moore

Sitting five games out of first place with a month left to play, the Guardians need to have a great month to catch the Twins. These moves certainly help in that regard, while also providing relief to some of the young players who shouldn’t be pushed too hard in their first season. Although all contracts expire after the season, these are all low-risk, high-reward additions and some of them might even choose to stay beyond the season’s end.

SP Lucas Giolito

A face that Guardians fans are familiar with, Lucas Giolito, has struggled since his deadline move to the Angels. He hasn’t been amazing by any means this year, but he provides much-needed upgrades and depth to help piece together the final part of the season.

  • 4.51 xERA with 1.28 WHIP this season
  • Posted xERA under 4 from 2019-2021
  • Posted 3.45 ERA pre All-star break

With the departure of Noah Syndergaard and an all-rookie rotation, Giolito can come in and provide some valuable innings. While Syndergaard didn’t perform terribly during his month of service, Giolito is a much stronger pitcher, and I anticipate that Carl Willis and the coaching staff can help him regain his form. Adding Giolito and Cal Quantrill back to the rotation will reduce the workload on the rookies, enabling them to contribute without being completely shut down. In the event that the Guardians make it to the postseason, Giolito would almost certainly be a key starter.

RHP Reynaldo Lopez

With the Guardians bullpen hitting a wall in the second half of the season, help was needed to strengthen the backend. Reynaldo Lopez is a great addition for that purpose, as he was one of the better relievers in baseball just last year.

  • 3.93 ERA this year, top 11 percentile in K%
  • 2.92 xERA last year, WHIP under 1 in 2022 & 2023
  • Ranks top 3 percentile in fastball velocity

While this year hasn’t been as dominant for Lopez, one particular statistic explains why. In 2022, Lopez ranked in the top 4% in BB%, walking hitters at just a 4.3% rate. However, this year, he’s in the bottom 6%, walking hitters at an alarming 12.6% rate. Command is everything for Lopez because there’s no doubt that he has electrifying stuff. If Lopez can improve his command of the strike zone, he’s likely to provide the Guardians with some very productive innings.

LHP Matt Moore

Since 2019, Matt Moore has been one of the better left-handed relievers in baseball. In a bullpen that only includes Sam Hentges and Tim Herrin, the Guardians desperately needed a reliable left-hander for late in the game.

  • 2.66 ERA this year, 1.95 ERA in 2022
  • Top 4 percentile in chase rate, top 20 percentile in strikeout rate
  • Posting lowest career WHIP this year at just 1.02

Drastically lower walk rates have helped elevate Moore’s game to the next level. This year, he’s walking just 6.9% of hitters, compared to 12.5% in 2022 and 11.4% in 2021. Acquiring a left-handed reliever with Moore’s level of success was a challenge at the trade deadline, and the Guardians were able to secure one of the better ones for nothing but a couple of bucks.


Although the front office didn’t make “buying” moves at the trade deadline, they certainly didn’t sell either. Gabriel Arias has outperformed Amed Rosario since the trade, they leveraged Aaron Civale’s value to acquire an elite young bat, and they unloaded Josh Bell’s contract in exchange for a very promising prospect. The post-trade deadline moves have had unexpected impacts, such as the additions of Kole Calhoun and Ramon Laureano. While winning the division may seem somewhat out of reach, the Twins have a history of faltering down the stretch, and Tito Francona is known for getting his team ready for the late-season push. Despite a largely underwhelming season, the front office’s moves in the final month have left the door open for a division title.

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