It seems like the Chicago Cubs have been connected to closer Ken Giles in trade rumors going on several years, so it only makes sense that, now that he’s a free agent, they’d be connected to him again.
Giles, who is rehabbing from October Tommy John surgery, figures to get one of those one-and-one deals, either a year and a team option, or just a two-year deal. That is to say, like we’ve seen the Cubs do before with a handful of guys, you’d be signing him now knowing that you’re almost certainly not going to get anything out of him in 2021, and instead are trying to get an economical head start on 2022.
Sure sounds like something the Cubs might entertain, no?
Here’s what Ken Rosenthal said: “Giles, 30, might appeal to clubs that plan to be more competitive and/or financially flexible in ’22, as well as those that might lose their closer to free agency. The Dodgers (Kenley Jansen), Nationals (Daniel Hudson) and Cubs (Craig Kimbrel) are among the teams that could fit that description.”
I think you could include a number of other teams in there, but the fact that the Cubs were included is notable, especially when you factor in the previous rumors connecting the Cubs to Giles over the years. Plus, Rosenthal is right: the Cubs may not “need” Giles in 2021, but might very much want him in 2022, especially if they could structure the contract such that the commitment this year is very modest.
Giles dealt with minor arm issues the last few years, and it was probably leading to this surgery eventually. But, man, the guy was freaking awesome throughout his career before the 2020 injury:
Giles’ upper-90s fastball left him the last couple years, again, as he might have been pitching toward what would ultimately become a torn UCL. So you’re certainly making a bet that surgery fixes the issue and he bounces back just fine, but that’s how you might be able to land a top-tier closer in 2022 on the relative cheap. With Craig Kimbrel hitting free agency after this season, with the Cubs’ payroll commitments in 2022 virtually non-existent, and with the team theoretically not into doing a multi-year rebuild, you can see how Giles would make some sense.