Blue Jays closer Ken Giles has long been considered one of the best relievers who could change hands by the July 31 trade deadline. However, there is now serious doubt that a Giles trade will come together this week. Giles continues to deal with elbow inflammation over a month after the issue forced him to the injured list on June 20, manager Charlie Montoyo announced to Gregor Chisholm of the Toronto Star and other reporters Monday. It was the second straight day the right-hander was unavailable to pitch.
Teams began crossing Giles off their wish lists when he couldn’t take the mound Sunday, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who adds that “his trade value is gone until the winter.” If so, that would be a massive disappointment for the Blue Jays – who could have collected a sizable return for Giles – and for the playoff contender that may have added a dominant reliever to its bullpen for the next season-plus.
Giles, who’s making $6.3MM at the moment, will go through his last trip through arbitration over the winter. With that in mind, the Blue Jays don’t have to trade him this summer. However, considering what Giles has accomplished this season, now may have been the ideal time to move a healthy version of the flamethrowing 28-year-old. Giles has posted good to great production since he debuted with the Phillies in 2014, though this might be his top season yet. Through 35 innings, Giles has notched a near-spotless 1.54 ERA/1.60 FIP with 14.91 K/9, 2.83 BB/9, a sky-high 20.3 percent swinging-strike rate and 14 saves in 15 chances.
Toronto still has other relievers it could move, including Daniel Hudson and Joe Biagini, but nobody in Giles’ stratosphere. If the Jays truly aren’t in position to trade Giles in the next couple days, perhaps it’ll lead teams to step up their pursuits of the other premier relievers who could be available. The Pirates’ Felipe Vazquez, the Padres’ Kirby Yates, the Reds’ Raisel Iglesias, the Mets’ Edwin Diaz and the Tigers’ Shane Greene are among some of the prominent names in the rumor mill. Giants relievers Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson looked like prime trade candidates earlier in the summer, but thanks to their team’s recent tear, all three could wind up staying put. Giles may be in the same boat.