Ken Giles is on the Injured List again.
He was originally injured back in the Blue Jays’ season-opening series in Tampa Bay and spent a month and a half of the shelf nursing a forearm strain. Last week, Giles was finally activated from the Injured List, but made just two appearances before getting shut down again with a forearm issue.
There’s only a week and a half left in the season, so there’s a pretty good chance we don’t see Giles again in 2020, unless the team goes on a deep playoff run and he re-joins the team in October. At this point, you have to wonder if we’ve seen the last of Giles in a Blue Jays uniform.
Giles’ injury issues go all the way back to last season. He was having an amazing season in 2019 and was arguably the best reliever in all of baseball. With the trade deadline approaching and the team nowhere near contention, it seemed inevitable that Giles would end up being dealt to a playoff team.
But, in July, Giles started dealing with elbow issues. The trade deadline came and went and the Jays couldn’t find a deal for their closer.
The plan then shifted to keeping Giles for the 2020 season and aiming to get maximum value for him when he was fully healthy. Either he would help the team win games and compete or they could take another go at sending him to a contender if the season went sideways.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been healthy at all this year. Giles has made just four appearances this season due to his forearm issues. Over three-and-two-thirds innings, Giles has allowed four earned runs, and he allowed a homer in both of his outings after being activated from the Injured List. His average fastball velocity is down to 94.3 in 2020 from 96.9 in 2019 and his slider has dipped from 86.4 to 84.0.
Giles will be eligible for free agency for the first time in his career this off-season. Given his injuries over the past couple of years, there’s no way he’s going to command a big contract.
There’s also no way that the Jays are going to issue him a qualifying offer. It would be a no-brainer for him to accept and the Jays would end up paying $18 million for an oft-injured closer, which obviously isn’t prudent given the fact they have Jordan Romano, Julian Merryweather, and Rafael Dolis, all of whom have closer upside, under control next year.
Maybe there’s a chance that Giles returns to the Blue Jays on a cheap, incentive-laden deal, but it’s obviously difficult to say if that’ll be the case. If this is the end of the line for Giles as a Blue Jay, it’ll be a damn shame. He was excellent here when he was at his best and it would have been fantastic to watch him come in and close games down the stretch and into the playoffs.