7:35 p.m.: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that Giles requested a release from the Mariners, who granted his request. This should allay fears that the club will simply give up their contribution over time. Nicholson-Smith also says several teams are interested in Giles, including the Blue Jays, the team he was with from mid-2018 to late 2020.
6:05 p.m.: The Mariners have announced that the reliever Ken Gilles refused outright assignment and elected free will. Giles was slated for assignment on Friday and this announcement would appear to indicate that he has gone through unclaimed waivers. As a veteran with more than five years of MLB service, Giles has the right to reject an outright assignment without losing pay.
Giles, now 31, underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2020. The Mariners then signed him to a two-year deal knowing he would miss the entire 2021 campaign but hoping for a win in 2022. Giles earned $1.5 million. last year and earns $5 million this season. (There was also a club option for 2023, which now appears to be a moot point.) Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to this long-term plan, with Giles missing much of this season due to other wounds. Although it was hoped he would be ready for opening day, a finger injury during spring training kept him from making his Mariner debut until June 21. After five appearances with reduced speed, a shoulder problem sent him back to the IL again. He was recovering from this problem when the Ms singled him out for an assignment.
Giles will now return to the open market and try to find his next opportunity. Prior to his current string of injuries, he was one of the best relievers in all of baseball. He was last healthy for an extended stretch in 2019 with the Blue Jays, pitching 53 innings with a 1.87 ERA, 39.9% strikeout rate, 8 walk rate, 2% and a ground ball rate of 39.3%.
While dreams of that kind of performance will surely leave some people salivating, there’s reason to feel bearish about Giles for the rest of the season. For one, the Mariners didn’t need his spot on the roster at the time of his DFA, perhaps suggesting they didn’t expect his shoulder issues to abate. end of the year. Giles could also have been caught on waivers by any of the other 29 teams, with the claimant club only liable for the remainder of his salary this year, which would have been around $1.4 million. That claiming team could also have retained him for 2023 via the club option on his contract, which would have given Giles $9.5 million next year and come with a buyout of just $500,000. The fact that each team missed this chance suggests at least some pessimism on the part of the market.
However, now that he’s cleared, any team could sign him and pay him the prorated league minimum for any time on the roster, with that amount subtracted from what Seattle pays. This will make him an interesting joker in the baseball world until he signs. For one thing, it’s now three years away from its last signs of effectiveness and has treated various ailments since. But on the other hand, with the trade deadline now past, teams wanting bullpen upgrades have very limited options to do so. Given Giles’ past success and risk-free acquisition cost, teams might consider him worth a dice roll.
The Mariners also announced that the receiver Louis Torrens cleared the waivers and was squarely at Triple-A Tacoma. His situation is slightly different from that of Giles, given that he has just over three years of service in MLB. Players between the ages of three and five can reject an outright assignment and elect free agency, though they must forfeit their remaining salary. Torrens qualified for refereeing last offseason as a Super Two player and is on a salary of $1.2 million this year. With approximately $340,000 still to be paid this year, neither team deemed him worthy of a claim. Although the Mariners have not announced whether he would accept the assignment, it seems fair to assume that he did, given that the club announced the rejection of Giles and the money Torrens would leave on the table. while going away. Torrens isn’t rated highly on his defense, but he provided a solid offense last year, hitting 15 homers and slashing .243/.299/.431, wRC+ by 101. He’s been much worse this year, however, only adding one long ball and producing a .214/.262/.252 batting line, wRC+ of 52.
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