Should the Phillies take a flier on a former standout reliever planning a comeback?

Is Ken Giles the missing piece of the bullpen puzzle for the Phillies?
San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies
San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies / Richard Schultz/GettyImages

For the Philadelphia Phillies, one of the primary remaining needs this offseason is adding a bullpen arm to help shore up the relief corps following the departure of closer Craig Kimbrel. With that in mind, a former elite reliever has become available as he attempts his comeback after going missing from MLB action for the bulk of the past three years.

That player is none other than 33-year-old Ken Giles, who, according to the New York Post's Jon Heyman, is back to full health again. Giles is attempting another MLB comeback this year and will begin showcasing himself in Phoenix this Friday for interested teams..

Former Phillies draft pick had a strong start to his career in Philadelphia

Giles actually began his illustrious career with the Phillies after being drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He spent two impressive seasons with the ballclub, including taking over as the team’s closer following the trade of Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals at the 2015 Trade Deadline.

Giles compiled a stellar 9-4 record with the Phillies, with a 1.56 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, giving up only three home runs while recording 151 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings over 113 appearances. His elite performance caught the eye of the Houston Astros, who acquired the flamethrower during the 2015-16 offseason to become their primary closer of the future. 

However, Giles had only one good season in his three years with the Astros and was eventually dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018. Things appeared to begin to turn around for Giles when he had a huge bounce-back season in 2019 with the Jays, posting a 1.87 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 53 innings. However, he only got into four games in 2020 before going down with an injury that required Tommy John surgery, putting him out until 2022.

From there, Giles caught on with the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants but only saw 4 1/3 total innings in the MLB with the Mariners in 2022. He invited teams to a bullpen last winter as well, catching on with the Los Angeles Dodgers but struggled to find his game in their minor leagues.

Could a Phillies reunion be what Giles needs?

As a former top-notch closer in the league, with a blazing fastball paired with a wicked slider, Giles certainly has the potential to regain his dominant form from the past if given the right chance and environment. After all, he does sport a career ERA of 2.71 and a WHIP of 1.12, along with a whopping 484 strikeouts in just 355 1/3 innings.

If Giles can put his recent struggles behind him and put on an attractive display of his skills and abilities, he might potentially be a hidden gem whom the Phillies can use as a complementary piece to their bullpen without spending a king’s ransom.

He had his best years with the ballclub earlier in his career, so perhaps returning home to the perennial World Series contender could provide the perfect antidote to cure his problems and make him a low-risk, high-reward pickup for the Phillies.

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