Blue Jays closer Ken Giles received a cortisone injection in his right elbow today and won’t pitch prior to tomorrow’s trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). A visit to Dr. Keith Meister and an MRI exam cleared Giles of any structural damage, but it’s still not a good update with regard to Giles’ trade value.
Giles, 28, was considered to be one of the top trade candidates in the game for much of the summer. Through 35 innings this season, he’s given the rebuilding Blue Jays a dominant 1.54 ERA with 14.9 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9. The only reliever in all of Major League Baseball who has topped Giles’ stunning 20.4 percent swinging-strike rate is Milwaukee star Josh Hader. Between that excellence and the Blue Jays’ clear long-term approach at the moment, Giles was as obvious a candidate to change hands as there is in the game. He’s earning an affordable $6.3MM in 2019 and is controlled via the 2020 season through arbitration.
While the latest injury news doesn’t technically eliminate the possibility of a trade, it’s also tough to see the Jays extracting maximum value for a pitcher whose status is somewhat up in the air. President Mark Shapiro, general manager Ross Atkins and the rest of the staff will surely continue to field offers as they gauge how the now-diminished offers stack up against what they might receive in the offseason for a single year of Giles. Toronto will also have to consider the possibility that Giles misses significant time in the final two months and sees his value further deteriorate. It’s a tricky and unenviable situation for the club to suddenly itself in, particularly considering how strong the market for Giles was expected to be a few weeks ago.