Before signing a two-year deal with the Dodgers late last month, right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle nearly agreed to a contract with the Red Sox. So much so that “the Red Sox were considered the runner-up” for the 31-year-old’s services, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Kahnle, who officially signed a two-year, $4.75 million pact with Los Angeles on December 29, will likely miss the entirety of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August. So, the Dodgers will essentially be paying the veteran hurler to rehab his elbow in his first year with the club in hopes that he will be a quality contributor out of the their bullpen in 2022.
That being said, the Red Sox presumably had this same plan in mind in their pursuit of Kahnle as well. And as noted by Cotillo, their pursuit of the righty “suggests that the club is looking at a wide variety of options to improve its pitching depth, including arms that won’t help in 2021.”
One of those arms available that won’t be immediately ready to help in 2021 would be former Phillies, Astros, and Blue Jays closer Ken Giles.
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Giles “figures to sign the type of two-year deal that teams frequently award pitchers recovering from an elbow reconstruction.” And he “might appeal to clubs that plan to be more competitive and/or financially flexible in ’22, as well as those that might lose their closer to free agency.”
The 30-year-old right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery on September 30 after making just four appearances out of the Toronto bullpen in 2020.
The year before, his first full season with the Jays, Giles put together a solid 2019 campaign, posting a 1.87 ERA and .574 OPS against over 53 appearances and 53 innings of work while converting 23 of a possible 24 save opportunities.
Right elbow inflammation did cost Giles a decent chunk of time in July, which ultimately prevented the Blue Jays from trading the former seventh-round pick ahead of the 2019 trade deadline.
Around that same time, the Red Sox were reportedly one of several teams in the mix for potentially acquiring Giles.
Nothing may have happened then, and Boston’s baseball operations department may be under new leadership now, but there certainly is a potential match to be made here.
For starters, fellow righty Matt Barnes, who at the moment is slated to be the Sox’ closer this coming season, is set to become a free agent for the first time next winter.
Though Barnes has publicly stated that he is interested in signing an extension with Boston, bringing in Giles on a two-year deal could prove to be an effective contingency plan for 2022.
On top of that, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in an interview with WEEI last week that “there’s a lot of players” on his list of potential offseason additions.
“Part of that is a function of where we are, where there’s a lot of ways we can improve. Part of that is how we’re looking to improve,” explained Bloom. “In the short-term, we have touched base with so many different players who we think could help us and fit us. Pitching, obviously, but also on the position player side. I think there’s different ways we can improve and different players we can bring in to help us. We also don’t want to take our eye off of the ball that, at the end of the day, we’re not just looking to put a little plaster in here and patch some holes. We’re looking to take this organization back to where we can compete for championships consistently year in and year out. That means we have to be open to different moves, different acquisitions that might not be just about 2021. I think we have enough talent here that we should be able to compete and win along the way there. But there are some things we’ve explored and some things we’ve kicked around that might be able to impact us even more in future years than they might be in 2021.”
Bringing in Giles would appear to fit the description of a move “that might not just be about 2021” for the Red Sox since, as mentioned before, he will miss all of this year while recovering and rehabbing from Tommy John.
Again, this is just a mere suggestion. I am not implying that the Red Sox will sign or even have any serious interest in signing Giles at some point this winter. We will have to wait and see what happens on that front.
Also, for what it’s worth, the Padres have reportedly traded speedy outfielder Greg Allen to the Yankees, so he will remain on another club’s 40-man roster for the time being.
(Photo of Ken Giles: Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)