Ken Giles is drawing quite a bit of trade interest in the early stages of the offseason, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Salisbury asked Phillies GM Matt Klentak if he’d be open to moving Giles, despite the fact that he can be controlled through the 2020 season, to which Klentak somewhat diplomatically replied that while it’s “not a goal” to move Giles, he avoids operating in absolutes and can’t definitively rule anything out. Klentak didn’t sound like a GM that is anxious to trade such a talented, controllable arm, though. “I think it’s a little different when you’re talking about a guy with one year of service time,” he explained. “If you were talking about a pending free agent then, yeah, that might be a slightly different situation. But Ken Giles, if he’s here, can very easily be a part of our future, so I think we have to account for that in our thinking.” Klentak added that it’s important, from a morale standpoint, to “win the games we are in a position to win,” emphasizing that a strong bullpen is key to that thinking. I’ve personally written in the past that I think it makes sense for Philadelphia to shop Giles, as he’ll be getting expensive in arbitration by the time the team is again ready to contend, and a relief pitcher isn’t the safest bet to serve as a building block due to their somewhat volatile nature. That said, Giles is unequivocally excellent and should only be moved for a rather notable return.
A few more notes on the relief market…
- The Red Sox, Tigers and Rangers have all expressed interest in Joakim Soria, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (links to Twitter). All three clubs have some previous ties to the right-hander, Morosi notes, as Soria recently closed games for both Texas and Detroit, while Boston president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski traded for Soria when he was GM of the Tigers. Soria’s market figures to be robust, as he’s already been linked to the Twins as well as the three teams listed here by Morosi.
- There are conflicting reports on the Diamondbacks’ intentions in the late innings. Arizona “seem[s] intent on acquiring a closer,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports, while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that the team “now seem[s] content” to add arms in front of Brad Ziegler.
- The Tigers are one team with interest in Craig Kimbrel of the Padres, says Heyman, who adds that Detroit seems more inclined to utilize free agency for its relief acquisitions.
- “I think we’re going to try to add at least one left-hander and as many quality relievers as we can,” Braves GM John Coppolella told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. While the Braves are on the hunt for bullpen upgrades, they’re looking for lower-key arms that could yield big results without a huge price tag. Bowman notes that the Braves won’t be pursuing the likes of Darren O’Day and Tyler Clippard due to their presumed asking prices. The team will look for players who could turn into for the Braves what Ryan Madson turned into for the Royals. The Braves enjoyed success from a similar strategy last year, enjoying positive results from low-cost pickups Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson. Grilli, though, suffered an Achilles injury that cost him half the season, while Johnson was eventually traded to the Dodgers. A few speculative fits that are somewhat cut from that cloth: Jonathan Broxton (whom Bowman also mentions), Bobby Parnell and Sean Marshall.
- At least in terms of free agents, the first major domino may be O’Day, who is reportedly receiving wide and intense interest.