With the COVID-19 pandemic postponing the MLB season, the odds of Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles being traded this season increase the further along the season gets delayed into summer.
Heading into the 2020 campaign, Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles has plenty of experience riding the rumor train. With Giles heading to free agency next off-season, the hard-throwing righty has been one of the league’s most-watched closers since joining the Blue Jays roster in 2018.
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While the 2018 season was a bit rough, he had a bounce-back 2019 season which saw his era dip below 2.00 and finishing the season with a 2.5 bWAR. His fastball sits in the high 90’s, reaching 100mph on numerous occasions, as well as a devastating slider that keeps hitters guessing which pitch is coming.
With his impressive 2019 campaign and the pending free agency scenario, Giles saw his name light up the trade rumor radar a lot last season. There was some steam heading towards the trade deadline that he would be dealt to a playoff contender, but nothing ever materialized and Giles stayed with the Blue Jays for the rest of the season. Some speculation as to why Giles was not dealt could be traced back to his right elbow injury he suffered mid-season and towards the deadline, which saw the closer spend some time on the 10-day injured list (IL).
Regardless, he enters the 2020 campaign still a member of the Blue Jays and currently cannot be traded due to the transaction freeze implemented by the league and the unions.
The MLB season is currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a shortened 2020 campaign further fuels the fire that Giles may be finding his way out of the Blue Jays organization this year.
While all the different MLB bodies hammer out a potential scenario to play as many games as possible this year, the end result is most likely seeing a season with less than the normal 162 game schedule. Potentially fewer games in the season means that winning and/or losing every game has more importance towards earning a spot in the playoffs. Even with the proposed scenario for the 7-inning, doubleheader games, teams will still be relying on strong bullpen pitchers to shut down the games if the starting pitcher gets knocked out in the 5th or 6th inning.
With the Blue Jays still in the rebuilding phase, playoff-bound teams could easily be calling the team for Giles services when the transaction freeze is over and the MLB season gets underway. The looming free agency for Giles may lower the asking price from other teams, but postseason bound organizations looking for an extra impact arm in the bullpen may pony up some more prospects or higher-tiered prospects in order to bolster the playoff push.
If the Blue Jays management team does not believe they can resign him this off-season due to salary demands or competition from other teams, it may be worth looking at dealing him this season to get some sort of return instead of letting him walk for nothing.
Even if the Blue Jays could resign him, the cost may still be too high considering all the young prospects on the roster will be earning more money when they enter arbitration in a few years, and a Giles trade could not only bolster the team with more prospects but also save some cap space in the long run.