White Sox' Lucas Giolito wants to give it his all in 2023
Giolito: 'I’m going to give it my all' in 2023 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
GLENDALE, AZ – Who will the White Sox be in 2023? Part of that answer is a carryover from the struggles from last season when they went from a World Series contender to missing the playoffs altogether.
It’s a wound that has left a scar in everyone from that team that will be felt from now through October. A reminder that they never want to experience that sort of pain again.
“As a group and individually, all of us, we learned our lessons from last year. Last year pissed us off,” Lucas Giolito said in an interview on the White Sox Talk Podcast.
You can look around the clubhouse and other than Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez, just about everyone can improve this season, including Giolito who after finishing in the top-12 for the AL Cy Young Award from 2019-2021, battled with his command and velocity, finishing with a 4.90 ERA in 2022.
RELATED: White Sox' Pedro Grifol says there is no BS with Oscar Colás
“I showed up big,” he said. More like jacked. He put on 20 pounds of muscle. “I was throwing the hardest I ever had in a long time, but then it was just…”
Giolito took his hand and motioned a spiral heading straight towards the ground.
“It just went down, down, down over the course of the season.”
His average four-seam fastball dropped from 94 mph in 2020 to 92.6 in 2022. The dip in velocity made his best pitch, his changeup, easier for opponents to read and hit.
“I don’t want to make excuses. There’s no excuse for poor performance. We get paid a lot of money to be here and help this organization win games. I didn’t do that last year. So I’m not going to sit here and say, well, this happened. No, I just didn’t get it done.”
If the White Sox are leading the league in anything right now, it might be the motivation to prove to everyone and themselves that last season was a fluke.
“I’m working off a lot of frustration off the previous season,” Gioito said. “That meant as soon as I got home I was getting to work. I didn’t take too much time off. I didn’t really feel like that was something I wanted to do.”
Instead of packing on the muscle like last winter, Giolito went the other direction, coming into camp 35 pounds lighter than the previous spring training. He says he weighs around 245 pounds, around the same amount as he was in 2020 and 2021.
“I feel more athletic. I feel like I can carry my body through space a lot cleaner. I feel lighter on my feet. That’s hopefully going to allow me to repeat my mechanics more consistently, staying more mobile and flexible. Hopefully, a lot of good comes out of that.”
A year ago, players were talking and thinking World Series. While that goal is still the same, how they plan on getting there has changed internally and dramatically.
“I think the whole, ‘Let’s just be really good and we’ll win the World Series.’ That’s not the way to think about it,” Giolito said. “I feel like (last year) we were on our heels with the injuries. And then we were on our heels with the losing streaks, on our heels with poor performances out of guys like me and trying to do more. ‘I got to figure it out. I got to help this team win.’”
New manager Pedro Grifol has preached a different mindset to the squad.
He’s not telling them to think about October or even Opening Day.
“Pedro says, ‘Every five days, what can we do individually? What can we do as a team, as a unit and a family?’” Giolito said.
Basically live as much as possible in the present.
But with this being the final year of his contract, is Giolito looking deep into his future, wondering if this could be his final season with the White Sox?
“It’s obviously a possibility, right? Anything is possible. That’s definitely on my mind here and there, but it’s kind of like circling back to the five days,” Giolito said. “I can worry about free agency and all that stuff after the season is over. If this is my last season, I want to give it my absolute best effort. I want to go out there. I want to be consistent. I want to help this team win. That’s really it. That’s what I’ve been trying to do for years. I wish I did a better job. But now, I’m going to give it my all.”
Click here to follow the White Sox Talk Podcast.