Yankees almost acquired reliever Ken Giles at deadline


According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Yankees and Blue Jays were set to swap three prospects for relief pitcher Ken Giles at the deadline, but for reasons unknown, the deal fell apart.

For the first time since July 2018 — 220 games, to be exact, the Yankees were shutout. The second-longest shutout streak in baseball history finally came to an end at the hands of the 68-71 Texas Rangers, as the Yanks’ high-powered offense was blanked 7-0.

Dropping into a tie with the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League (90-49, .647 winning percentage), if the season ended today, the ‘Stros would gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs based off head-to-head matchups.

Although starter Masahiro Tanaka lasted six innings, allowing two runs across 102 pitches, Nestor Cortes and the recently promoted Tyler Lyons didn’t fare too well out of the bullpen. The pair gave up a total of five runs on five hits, including two home runs.

On a day where the bats were late to the party, you wonder if having a non-exhausted, more reliable option in the ‘pen might have kept the Yanks in the game? After-all, they battled back against the A’s to win consecutive games on walk-off home runs just last week.

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I broach the topic because the Yanks have signed several low-cost, veteran free agent relievers over the past month that have yet to pan out.

Interestingly enough, Ken Rosenthal reported on Tuesday that the Yankees and Blue Jays had all but signed off on a trade of veteran reliever Ken Giles prior to the July 31 trade deadline.

Though Rosenthal didn’t reveal why the deal fell through, he did say the Blue Jays were to receive three unnamed prospects. The Jays even went so far as to inform other interested clubs that the 28-year-old righty was headed elsewhere.

Perhaps the Yanks got cold feet after Giles spent two weeks on the injured list with elbow inflammation, and then visited Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas. Although an MRI revealed no structural damage, Giles did receive a cortisone shot.

However, since August 3, Giles has been stellar for the rebuilding Jays — compiling a 15:4 K:BB ratio across nine innings and just two home runs allowed.

Entering his final season of arbitration ($6.3 million in 2019), Giles will undoubtedly command more after 44 innings that feature a 2.05 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, career-best 14.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and going 18-for-19 in save chances.

Without knowing the full extent of prospects the Yankees would have needed to surrender, it’s difficult to judge whether acquiring Giles, a player that once punched himself in the jaw after being pulled from a game against the Yanks, would have been advantageous or not.

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But with Aroldis Chapman’s opt-out looming, Dellin Betances’ free agency and the Yanks’ inconsistent starters that continue to put pressure on the bullpen, Giles could have been a useful tool, at least during the playoffs.