There is no doubt that the Yankees are still trying to improve their already dominant bullpen this offseason and Ken Giles could be on their radar.
With all the talk of the Yankees getting Josh Hader and assembling the best bullpen of all time, someone, who the Yankees tried to acquire near the trade deadline last year has flown under the radar. He was arguably better than Hader last season, yet does not get the recognition he deserves. RHP Ken Giles of the Toronto Blue Jays was acquired in 2018, in a multi player deal that sent domestic abuser Roberto Osuna the other way for Houston. The Astros made this trade at a time where Giles was having control issues and did not really have a spot on their team. Little did they know, Giles was to be better than Osuna in 2019.
In 2019, Giles had a 1.87 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2.27 FIP, 2.73 xFIP, 2.49 SIERA, 2.55 pCRA, 176 pCRA+, 14.09 K/9, 39.9 K%, 8.2 BB%, .185 xBA, .319 xSLG, .247 wOBA, .246 xwOBA, .369 xwOBACON, 2.0 cWAR, and a 1.8 fWAR. These are great statistics for a guy that will be sold at a rather low price, as he only has one year left on his contract. One of the greatest things about Giles’s pitch repertoire has to be his four-seam fastball. He throws an electric fastball that tops out at 100 MPH, and he averages 1.2 Inches of lateral break on it, making it very deceiving for other hitters to see out of the hand. Although his slider does not have the most amount of break, it is statistically very hard to hit. Giles has a 33% chase percentage, and a 40% whiff percentage, which is very impressive for any pitcher.
So, where would Giles fit on an already loaded Yankees bullpen? As someone who doesn’t believe in a closer, Giles, Chapman, and Kanhle can all be relief aces on almost every bullpen. For Aaron Boone, who has a very firm philosophy and rule that he does not use his pitchers three days in a row, this just gives him even more flexibility with another reliable/elite arm out of his pen to use against other teams.
With the recent acquisition of superstar RHP Gerrit Cole, a potential game 3-4 pitching plan in the playoffs could include an almost fully rested Yankees bullpen with Giles additionally would be filthy. A pitching plan for a potential game three starter in James Paxton could include:
Chad Green pitches the 1st Inning
James Paxton pitches the 2nd-6th innings
Ken Giles pitches the 7th Inning
Tommy Kanhle Pitches the 8th Inning
Aroldis Chapman pitches the 9th inning
This would give the Yankees even more flexibility on other days, as Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino would potentially not be used here. Although the bullpen may not be the Yankees biggest needs, Giles would be a great addition as for a year, he probably would not cost the Yankees much to give up.
A potential mock trade could be:
Yankees Acquire: RHP Ken Giles
Blue Jays Acquire: OF Ryder Green, RHP Albert Abreu
This would give the Blue Jays a nice young pitcher in Abreu, and a nice young outfielder in Green. Abreu is the 6th overall prospect in the Yankees organization and Green is the 21st overall prospect in the Yankees organization.
Although these are some solid prospects, I think it is worth one year of Giles (or possibly more pending an extension). Giles was one of the best relief pitchers last season, and I think he could be a great edition to the Yankees already elite bullpen.