Mariners agree with Ken Giles, who is out until 2022, on multi-year deal

Feb 11, 2021, 5:46 PM | Updated: 5:57 pm
Mariners Ken Giles...
Ken Giles has 115 career MLB saves over seven seasons. (Getty)

The Mariners have added another reliever, just not for the now. A baseball source confirms the Mariners are in agreement on a multi-year contract with reliever Ken Giles. The 30-year old right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in October and is unlikely to pitch in 2021.

Four positions where the Mariners could still make signings for 2021

Giles is coming off an injury-shortened 2020 season where he made just four appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing four runs.

In 2019, Giles posted a 1.87 ERA with Toronto while earning 23 saves. A power pitcher, Giles ranked in the 98th percentile in strikeout and whiff percentages in 2019 as well as the 94th percentile in velocity with a fastball that averaged 97.4 mph and could touch 100. He also limited hitters to a .184 batting average against.

The signing continues a trend toward velocity in the Mariners’ bullpen by general manager Jerry Dipoto who acquired Andrés Muñoz from the Padres at the 2020 trade deadline, re-signed Kendall Graveman shortly after the season ended, traded for Rafael Montero from the Rangers on Dec. 15, and signed Keynan Middleton on Dec. 16. The group has more in common than velocity as all four relievers have also undergone Tommy John surgery.

Return from Tommy John surgery generally falls in the 14-16 month range, and the results in recent years have been largely good. Though there has been some dispute to the notion that pitchers can actually gain velocity following the surgery – Dr. Lewis Yocum, who worked along with Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered the surgery, believed pitchers often pitched at a deficit before the surgery, thus giving the illusion of velocity gain – many return to form.

Dipoto have not shied away from pitchers coming off the surgery with Marco Gonzales and Taijuan Walker working their way back in Mariners uniforms.

With the move, the 2022 bullpen perhaps comes into better view with the possibility of multiple relievers with elite velocity at the back end.

The deal with Giles is pending a physical, which should be completed early next week.

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