Former Phillies standout reliever attempting MLB comeback with hated division rival

Former Phillies draft pick and bullpen arm Ken Giles is making his MLB comeback and returning to the NL East with the Braves.
Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies
Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

With another peaceful and quiet week passing by without the Philadelphia Phillies having much action, another former Phillies player has found a new home this offseason, this time with the Atlanta Braves.

On Friday, the 2023 NL East champion Braves signed veteran right-handed reliever Ken Giles to a minor league contract. He will be invited to camp in spring training, with his contract worth $1.75 million if he ends up sticking with the team in the majors.

Giles was a former seventh-round pick of the Phillies in the 2011 MLB Draft. He became a member of the big league squad for two seasons, including making his rookie debut with the ballclub in 2014. That season, Giles put together a phenomenal year in which he posted a solid 3-1 record with 13 holds and one save, along with a stellar 1.18 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 64 strikeouts in just 45 2/3 innings pitched. More impressively, he yielded runs in only five of his 44 appearances and ended up finishing fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Ken Giles won a World Series after leaving the Phillies

After throwing 70 innings with a 1.80 ERA and 15 saves for the Phillies in 2015, Giles was traded to the Houston Astros, becoming their closer. Although he produced mixed results with the Astros, his stellar 2017 season, in which he performed to expectations with 34 saves and a 2.30 ERA, helped lead the team to its first-ever World Series championship.

Giles would later end up with stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and, most recently, with the Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations. Injury woes in 2020 that required Tommy John surgery and massive struggles in regaining his form have derailed his once-promising career.

Now appearing to be back to full health after throwing a bullpen showcase for teams, Giles will be at his absolute best to take full advantage of the opportunity to put his career back on track. What better way to make his elusive MLB comeback than to catch on with the perennial playoff contenders in the Braves?

If he manages to rediscover his dominant form once again and successfully claims a spot on the Opening Day roster, the Phillies will definitely have their hands full whenever they meet their division rivals in 2024. It could make the Phillies severely regret not taking a flyer on their former bullpen standout.