Blue Jays: Former Jays closer Ken Giles is planning a comeback
Former Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles is planning a return to the mound, starting with a Feb. 8 showcase in Arizona.
As Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports, Giles plans to audition for interested teams at Arizona State University in Tempe and is 100% healthy.
You'd be forgiven for having forgotten about Giles, as it's been a while since he's been relevant. He's only thrown 4.1 major league innings since undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2020 season.
The 32-year-old, who spent three seasons with the Jays, came over from the Astros in the 2018 Roberto Osuna trade and quickly established himself at the back end of the bullpen, securing 14 saves in 21 appearances.
In 2019, he secured 23 saves on a 67-win Jays squad. Since then, it's been a rocky road for the once-dominant closer.
After missing most of 2020 with elbow problems, in which he threw 3.2 innings for the Jays, he had elbow surgery that wiped out his entire 2021 season. He hoped to return to action with the Mariners in 2022 but was sidelined with finger and shoulder issues and only appeared in five games before they cut him loose.
Doing the math, Giles has only pitched eight major league innings since the end of the 2019 season. But his resume and track record will make teams take notice, especially if he looks healthy in Arizona and shows he can still bring the velocity — his 4-seamer and sinker sat around 97 mph in 2019.
Should the Jays take a look at Giles?
You can never have enough pitching, as the adage goes. As a hopeful World Series contender, it would be wise for the Jays' front office to do their due diligence and see how he looks at his February workout.
Before his injury problems, the former Word Series-winning closer was no slouch. Over the first six seasons of his career, he appeared in 353 games with Philadelphia, Houston and Toronto and racked up 114 saves with a 2.21 ERA. He also had a 33.3% strikeout rate, which the Jays could use more of late in games.
While the team already has Jordan Romano to close out games, adding a veteran arm with Giles' experience could be another factor that helps them take the next step. It would also follow the blueprint of other offseason moves, bringing in veteran players like Brandon Belt, Kevin Kiermier and Chris Bassitt.
At the very least, it would add some extra insurance in case the injury bug returns to the bullpen in 2023.