There is growing speculation that the Philadelphia Phillies are not only willing to deal Ken Giles this off-season, but may be actively shopping their fireballing young closer.
In all of his public comments regarding potential moves by the club, new GM Matt Klentak has repeatedly stated that the Phillies will do whatever it takes to move the rebuild forward in acquiring young, controllable talent.
Numerous sources have reported that Giles is generating plenty of interest from other teams across Major League Baseball, and why not? He is talented, proven, young, and controllable.
Earlier today, in a report on the overall closer market as the GM meetings continue, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports stated: “the Phillies’ hard-throwing young closer Ken Giles is said to be available, though that may be more about a team looking to change as much as they can coming off their disastrous season.”
A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Giles turned 25 years old back on September 20th. He made just $519,000 for the 2015 season, and does not become arbitration eligible until just prior to the 2018 season, and cannot become a free agent until following the 202o season.
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Giles was the Phillies 7th round selection in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of Yavapai College in Arizona. He rose incrementally through the farm system, making his MLB debut on June 12th, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park against the San Diego Padres.
In that first game, Giles allowed a 9th inning solo home run to the first batter he faced, Yasmani Grandal. Over 44 more games and 44.2 more innings that year, he would not allow another. In two big league seasons, Giles has a 9-4 record with 16 Saves. He has fashioned a 1.56 ERA and 1.037 WHIP over 113 games in which he has tossed 115.2 innings, with a 151/36 K:BB ratio.
“We’re trying as much as possible to collect as many good young controllable quality players as we can,” Klentak said, per Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal. “But as I said last week and probably the week before that, we’re trying to be opportunistic at every turn and trying not to operate in absolutes. I think Ken is terrific. He’s great in his role. We want to hold the leads we can hold, but I don’t want to categorically say we will or we won’t do anything.“
Klentak further addressed any potential Giles deal in this manner, as quoted by Philly.com’s Ryan Lawrence:
“I think we do need to be conscious…of making sure from a morale perspective we are winning the games that we are in a position to win, and I think having a good bullpen in general is critical to that,” Klentak said. “…I think it’s a little different when you’re talking about a guy with one year of service time. If you were talking about a pending free agent then, yeah, that might be a slightly different situation. But Ken Giles, if he’s here, can very easily be a part of our future so I think we have to account for that in our thinking.”
Clearly it will take a strong offer to pry Giles away from the Phillies. But if some team is willing to pony up two or three prospects, at least one of them being a highly considered premium-type, Klentak would certainly have to listen and think long and hard.
My own opinion, no team is going to meet what the Phillies would rightfully demand for Giles, and he will continue to fill the role of closer as this team continues to improve. More young talent will rise to the big league club next season. A year from now, with a brighter future arriving more quickly, the Phillies will be glad to have him wrapping up their increasing number of hard-earned victories.