With some designated trade chips in hand, it appears that we might be seeing the first one sold by the Blue Jays this season and it might be Ken Giles to the Chicago Cubs.
On Inside the Clubhouse @670TheScore Jays broadcaster Buck Maritinez confirmed the Cubs have asked about the availability of closer Ken Giles
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) May 18, 2019
Per Chicago baseball analyst Bruce Levine and Buck Martinez, the Cubs have reportedly asked about Giles as a potential trade.
As of Monday, the Cubs bullpen has been not very good, so this trade makes sense for Chicago. Their closer Steve Cishek has an ERA of 2.45 in 22 innings, while making four saves but one blown save as well. It’s not terrible, but for a team that wants to contend like the Cubs, they want to upgrade on that and Giles can be exactly that.
Acquired in the Roberto Osuna trade from Houston, Giles has been exactly as advertised this season. In 19.2 innings this season, Giles has completed 10 saves with an ERA of 1.37 and a 1.017 WHIP.
One part of his game that has been incredible this season is his strikeout rate. Punching out 14.9 per nine innings is a career-high for Giles and a massive improvement 10.1 K/9 last season with the Blue Jays.
Giles will be turning 29-years-old before this season ends and is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. In a world where solid pitching is hard to come by, Giles holds high value for some contending clubs, but is likely not in Toronto for too long. Unlike Stroman or Sanchez, Giles’ position in the bullpen might be replaceable and isn’t in some long-term plans for the Jays.
For what the Jays could see coming back in a trade like this, the Cubs have one of the worst prospect systems in baseball right now. Only two prospects, catcher Miguel Amaya and shortstop Nico Hoerner, are in MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect rankings this year. Two positions that the Jays already have enough prospect depth in.
The Cubs have other young players on their 40-man that could be part of a potential trade for the closer. Outfielder and second baseman Ian Happ has fallen out of favour this spring and started his 2019 in Triple-A Iowa, posting a .699 OPS there, but his 2.3 career WAR in the majors at only 24-years-old is an intriguing option for one of the worst outfields in baseball.
One pitcher on their roster might be intriguing as well. Starter Oscar De La Cruz is currently splitting his 2019 between High-A and Double-A, posting a 1.39 ERA and a 1.021 WHIP in 32.1 innings pitched and six starts. At 24, De La Cruz shouldn’t need much more time in the minors before he makes his MLB debut. Whether or not Giles is worth that type of player, we shall see.
These trade rumours will continue right up until the deadline, the Jays will be selling off many pieces and hopefully promoting some prospects up from the minors to replace them.