The Cubs have been tied to Blue Jays closer Ken Giles since at least mid-May, but they’re not alone as teams seek to bolster their bullpens for the final leg of the season. The 28-year-old righty reliever has saved 105 games in his career and still has one more season of arbitration eligibility after this one, so he is very comfortable in high-leverage situations.
What’s more, he has historically been a reverse-split pitcher and his performance against lefties is particularly good this season. For a Cubs team that has struggled with both consistency and proper usage, that kind of matchup immunity is clearly desirable. It might even come at a lower cost than expected, given the seemingly light haul the Jays got for starter Marcus Stroman.
But as Ken Rosenthal reports in The Athletic ($), “All of the contenders, including the Red Sox, are in on…Giles.” That kind of competition could drive the price up significantly, even if the Jays do still feel compelled to strike while the market is hot.
With Ian Happ’s promotion and Ben Zobrist’s pending return, the Cubs don’t appear poised to make a big move for a position player. They could end up getting a periphery piece in return for Martín Maldonado should ongoing talks result in a deal, but it really looks as though their biggest upgrades could come in the ‘pen.
In addition to Giles, keep an eye out for Chris Martin of the Rangers. He’s older, has no control beyond this year, and lacks the big saves numbers, but Martin has an excellent fastball and boasts similar reverse splits to Giles. Knowing the strong working relationship the Cubs have with the Rangers, another deal between the two wouldn’t be surprising at all.
As always, stay tuned.