The career path of Albuquerque native Ken Giles took another turn Monday. This time, the road leads north of the border to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Giles, who racked up 61 saves in two-plus seasons with the Houston Astros, was traded to the Blue Jays along with prospects for closer Roberto Osuna, who is eligible to be reinstated from a 75-game suspension for violation of Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy on Sunday.
Ken Giles’ father, Glenn, told the Journal that it should be a trade that works out both teams and his son.
“I think it’s a good move for everybody involved,” Glenn Giles said. “He’s looking forward to getting back to how he used to be and I think this will give him a new start. I think he’ll be happy; he’ll be extremely happy.”
Giles, a 27-year-old Rio Grande alum who took the league by storm as a rookie with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014 saved 34 games in helping the Astros win the World Series last season. But he struggled in the Fall Classic against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing five runs in 1⅔ innings.
This season, Giles was 12-for-12 in save opportunities but made headlines when he punched himself in the face after pitching poorly in a non-save opportunity.
With Osuna headed to Houston, the closer job in Toronto could belong to Giles. The tradeoff is he is leaving a team that, coming into Monday, was 67-40 and looks primed to repeat as World Series champions to join one that was 48-56 and out of playoff contention.
“He’s done extremely well in save situations,” Glenn Giles said. “Hopefully, Kenneth will be able to get back in that closer’s role again. He’s the type of guy who just feeds off the atmosphere and the moment and the adrenaline. When he has that, he’s able to have control and focus better. I’m sure it’s going to work out for everybody.”
Giles, who had an 0-2 record and 4.99 ERA in 34 games this season, was sent down to Triple-A Fresno after a July 10 game against Oakland. Giles allowed three straight hits and appeared to curse at Astros manager A.J. Hinch when he was pulled from the game.
“I know there had been some issues here and there,” Glenn Giles said. “I just feel like he had not been happy this year.
“He was in Fresno and he was missing his family so that was weighing on his mind too. His family will definitely move up there to Canada and it looks like I’m going to have to get a passport.”
Giles’ stint in Fresno recently brought him back home, and he appeared in games July 20 and July 22 against Albuquerque. Combined, he went 1⅓ innings and allowed a run on three hits, a walk and two strikeouts.
Giles, the Astros’ former closer, is hoping to make the best of his demotion to Fresno. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
“Trying to get my groove back,” Giles told the Journal then. “That’s all I’m here to do. We had a lot of guys pitching well (in Houston) and I wasn’t getting many opportunities to work out the kinks. I’m getting opportunities here and I plan to take advantage, get back up and help the club.”
Giles has a $4.6 million salary and is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.