12:20pm: Blue Jays righty Ken Giles may not be at full health, but he’s still “in play” in trade talks, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). That seemed increasingly unlikely when it emerged yesterday that the closer had undergone a cortisone shot to treat an elbow issue.
The 28-year-old Giles was clearly among the game’s best trade candidates before his recent elbow woes arose. He’s earning a reasonable $6.3MM this year with another arbitration season left to go. Long known for his talent, Giles also had returned to producing exceptional on-field results to begin the 2019 campaign.
When he came to Toronto, Giles was a bounceback asset. He has done exactly that. In his 35 innings this season, he owns a 1.54 ERA with a hefty 14.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Unlike many pitchers, Giles has successfully limited the long ball, allowing just a pair.
Teams considering an investment of this type want as much certainty as possible. In that regard, the elbow issues are worrying, even if they’ve been deemed non-structural.
That said, the upside is tremendous. Giles carries a monster 20.3% swinging-strike rate this year. He’s averaging 96.9 mph on his fastball, which is down from his peak but still strong. And Statcast thinks he has been a bit unlucky on batted-ball fortune, crediting him with an exceptional .232 xwOBA that’s quite a bit lower than his still-excellent .253 wOBA.