Ken Giles, Mariners Reportedly Agree to 2-Year Contract in MLB Free Agency

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2021

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ken Giles throws against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. The Blue Jays won 7-3. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners reportedly added a proven closer to their bullpen Thursday when they signed Ken Giles.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and MyNorthwest.com's Shannon Drayer reported the news, noting it is a two-year deal. The right-hander will be available in 2022 after he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Giles is a notable addition but comes with health concerns since he pitched just 3.2 innings in 2020 for the Toronto Blue Jays and underwent that surgery.

The 30-year-old spent time on the injured list because of right elbow inflammation in 2019, but it wasn't that long ago he was one of the best closers in the league. He impressed in 2019 with a 1.87 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 83 strikeouts and 23 saves in 53 innings, which was a far cry from his 2018 effort.

He started the 2018 campaign on the Houston Astros before they traded him to Toronto during a season that saw him post a 4.65 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 50.1 innings for both teams.

Giles didn't look like the same pitcher who helped lead the Astros to a World Series title in 2017 with a 2.30 ERA and who finished with a sub-2.00 ERA in his first two seasons in the league (2014 and 2015) with the Philadelphia Phillies.

A return to dominance in 2019 likely convinced the Mariners to take a chance on him with this deal, and this is a low-risk, high-reward move with the hopes he will bounce back from his serious setback.

Giles is at least familiar with postseason pressure from the 2017 World Series run and could help his new team control the late innings at the back end of the bullpen when he does return.