St. Louis Cardinals: Could the Cardinals trade for Ken Giles?

TORONTO, ON - MAY 10: Ken Giles #51 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates their victory with Danny Jansen #9 during MLB game action against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre on May 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 10: Ken Giles #51 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates their victory with Danny Jansen #9 during MLB game action against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre on May 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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With the St. Louis Cardinals losing their ultra-talented closer Jordan Hicks to Tommy John Surgery, they could now be in the market for a closer for the upcoming trade deadline. Could Ken Giles be a serious option for the Redbirds?

On Wednesday morning, St. Louis Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks underwent Tommy John Surgery to repair a UCL tear that was diagnosed a couple of days before. With this surgery, Hicks will be out until at least after the 2020 All-Star Break. This also means that the Cardinals do not have a closer. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak announced that the Cardinals will place former starter Carlos Martinez as the closer for the Cardinals for the time being.

What if the Martinez experiment does not work out though? That means that the Cardinals could look outside of the organization to find a closer to replace Hicks. With the Trade Deadline coming up in a month, there are multiple stud closers and late relievers that could potentially be on the market from teams that decided that they were going to sell their players for prospects.

The Toronto Blue Jays could be a team that sells at the deadline, as they are 24 games behind in the AL East race. The Blue Jays already have a pretty solid farm system that includes studs like Vladmir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, but they could dangle some of their Major Leaguers to rake in even more young talent and start building for the future.

Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman is expected to be one of the biggest commodities on the trade market come late July, but they also have another stud arm that will likely be on the trade market as well, and with the Cardinals losing their closer for the next year, or maybe even longer, Ken Giles could be a name that the Cardinals pursue.

Ken Giles has been one of the best relievers in the American League so far this season, sporting an amazing 1.33 ERA to go with a 1.03 WHIP. He also has struck out 47 batters in 27 innings, which is actually insane, and goes for an absurd 15.7 K/9 rate. Giles also has closing experience for the Blue Jays, notching up 12 saves so far this season, which leads the team.

Since the Blue Jays aren’t a great team though, Giles has not had that many save opportunities in the first place. Giles could even possibly represent the Blue Jays in the All-Star Game in a few weeks, as he and Stroman seem like the only realistic candidates on the team to make it.

Before Giles was a Blue Jay, he was a shutdown closer for the Houston Astros and was even on the team the year that they won the World Series in 2017. Giles was easily one of the top closers in baseball during 2017, as he finished the season with a very solid 2.30 ERA and picked up 31 saves that season.

Things went south for him in 2018 though, he struggled mightily and even ended up losing his spot as a closer for the Astros. In one game against the New York Yankees, he blew a save while giving up a 3-run home run to slugger Gary Sanchez when manager A.J. Hinch pulled Giles from the game, he punched himself in the face walking back to the dugout.

Yes, you read that right, he literally punched himself in the face. The MLB ended up giving Giles a three-game suspension for his actions after.

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Less than two months later, the Astros dealt Giles to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for star closer Roberto Osuna. Osuna was easily one of the top closers in the league, but he did have some baggage on him due to a domestic violence arrest earlier that year which led to a 75-game suspension.

The Astros decided to take a flier on him and buy low, which meant shipping the struggling Giles to Toronto in exchange for Osuna. Giles has definitely bounced back this season though and could be a heavily pursued name when the deadline comes around.

Giles also is under contract for another year after the season ends, which means he would also be on next years roster as well. That could drive the price up for him a little bit. Mainly because most players being shopped at the deadline are just rentals that hit free agency at the end of the season.

The Cardinals and Blue Jays front offices also already have trade experience with one another, when the Cardinals dealt outfielder Randal Grichuk in exchange for reliever Dominic Leone and prospect Conner Greene prior to the 2018 season. This could also improve the chances of Toronto and St. Louis striking a deal.

With the Blue Jays obviously looking for prospects to improve their farm, that is what the Cardinals will have to give up in exchange for the 28-year-old. Since Giles is just a reliever, it won’t cost the Cardinals a top prospect like Nolan Gorman or Dylan Carlson. A name that could be in the discussion might be Lane Thomas, the No. 7 prospect in the Cardinals organization.

Thomas is a speedy outfielder that would fit in a Blue Jays system that is heavily infielder oriented and lacks outfield talent. It would also likely take another prospect to get the deal done, so the Cardinals could also throw in No. 15 prospect Connor Jones, who has one of the best fastballs in the farm system right now.

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The St. Louis Cardinals will likely need a closer or just extra bullpen to help gear up for a potential playoff run. Giles should be a name that the Cardinals should heavily pursue, and they could definitely benefit from his services.