Blue Jays closer Ken Giles was being pursued by “all the contenders,” including the Cubs, who’d had him on their radar since at least May. But that may all remain in past tense now that the righty, whose performance against lefties was particularly enviable, has been unavailable for the last two games as he continues to battle elbow issues that forced him to the IL in late June.
Gregor Chisholm of the Toronto Star tweeted Monday night that Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo had said Giles was dealing with inflammation in his throwing elbow. Despite downplaying the matter as minor and saying the closer was “working through it,” this is the third time this matter has come up since the start of June.
Montoyo said he didn't expect the inflammation to be a big deal, and that Giles was "working through it" but the timing is anything but minor for the #BlueJays. It's also the third time this has been an issue since start of June.
— Gregor Chisholm (@GregorChisholm) July 30, 2019
A closer with recurring elbow issues, you say? Hits a little close to home for the Cubs, who are still hoping last year’s acquisition of Brandon Morrow can yield something down the stretch. With the bullpen situation already tenuous and money apparently just as tight as it was last winter, it’s hard to imagine the Cubs pursuing Giles unless the Jays literally give him away.
Same goes for other potential suitors, nearly all of whom have apparently redirected their pursuits in light of this latest revelation. As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted, the closer’s “trade value is gone until this winter.”
Teams started ruling out #Jays closer Ken Giles on Sunday when he didn’t pitch because of elbow soreness, and now that he sat out again Monday, his trade value is gone until this winter.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 30, 2019
This will further thin out a market that could already be without Giants lefties Will Smith and Tony Watson, thus increasing the asking price of other available relievers. But there are plenty of other options out there and Joe Maddon said this past weekend that the cubs were “working feverishly” to address their needs ahead fo the deadline.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand echoed that thought Monday evening, tweeting that the Cubs were among a group of contending teams that were “the most aggressive” in seeking bullpen help. Some might find that odd in light of Theo Epstein’s recent claims that Craig Kimbrel had used up most or all of their budget flexibility, but it actually makes all the sense in the world.
Based on conversations today, it seems as though the Red Sox, Nationals, Dodgers and Cubs are the most aggressive teams out there looking for bullpen help. The Braves are, too, though an outfielder currently appears to be Atlanta's top priority.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 30, 2019
If the Cubs really do have to get creative to shed money in order to take on new contracts, they’d have to be very aggressive by necessity. We’ll find out soon enough what that gets them, if anything, but it appears for now as though one big target can be eliminated.
Update: Ken Rosenthal reports that an MRI revealed no structural damage, but that Giles will not pitch again before the deadline after receiving a cortisone injection in his balky elbow.
#BlueJays closer Ken GIles visited Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas today, source tells The Athletic. An MRI revealed no structural damage in Giles’ elbow, but upon Meister’s recommendation, the pitcher received a cortisone shot. Will not pitch again before deadline.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2019