Toronto Blue Jays: Ken Giles injury is a career-breaker
Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles will require Tommy John surgery, and that’s not exactly good news for the hard-throwing reliever.
After battling elbow issues since July of 2019, it was announced that Ken Giles will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will sideline him for the remainder of this season and all of 2021.
With elbow issues lingering for the veteran while he tried to pitch through the pain, it seemed inevitable that he would eventually have to have some sort of surgery, whether it be Tommy John or a different form of elbow operation. With Giles going down with an injury, it’s quite the blow to the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen in which despite being one of the better units in the league, it only would have been better with a healthy Giles.
When Giles was healthy, he was in top notch form as he routinely topped 100 MPH, which is where he got his nickname “100 Miles Giles”. Ever since he came over to the Jays in 2018, he was quite good as he combined for a 2.83 ERA and saved 38 games in 39 chances.
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Despite his dominance in Toronto, his career may be in danger. Going under the knife to reconstruct an elbow, especially for a pitcher, can derail a career. While not all cases, Tommy John surgery can cause a pitcher to lose a couple miles on his fastball, and this would be a big deal breaker for Giles.
Giles is known for his ability to pump gas and blow his fastball by hitters, which is why he’s a closer. For Giles or even any closer, a downtick in velocity is what sometimes gets players removed from the closer’s role.
One thing that works in Giles’ favour is his age of 30. Most pitchers at this age can return to a MLB mound after a major surgery like Tommy John, but there’s a catch: the majority of these pitchers are starters.
Giles is entering fairly unchartered territory, as very few relievers of his caliber with the exception of the guy he was traded for in Roberto Osuna, have gone under the knife for Tommy John.
As he’s still relatively young, someone will likely give Giles a multi-year contract that goes into 2022, as he’ll be out for 2021. The team that does though, may not be the Blue Jays as it will most likely be a rebuilding team that’s close to contention that will be in need of bullpen help down the road. The team that does sign Giles is also taking a big risk in doing so, as there’s no guarantee he comes anywhere close to being the top notch pitcher he was.
It remains to be seen how he will do when he returns to the big leagues and he should get a chance to do just that, but this could also be the end for Giles as we’ve known him.