Mariners finalize $7M, 2-year deal with reliever Ken Giles

Ken Giles knows the upcoming season will be all about patience. There is no need to rush his recovery since the Seattle Mariners won’t even consider allowing him to see the majors this year.

“I would love to be out there this year. But you know what? It’s not going to do me any good, it’s not going to do the organization any good,” Giles said. “As long as I stay patient through my process, I’ve already come to the realization I’m not going to pitch this year and that’s OK.”

The Mariners finalized a $7 million, two-year contract with Giles on Friday that includes a club option for the 2023 season.

Seattle signed Giles knowing he won’t pitch for the Mariners until 2022 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Manager Scott Servais stressed that no matter how far along Giles gets in his recovery, he won’t pitch in the majors this year.

“There is no chance of that happening,” Servais said. “We will not let that happen. That’s not the agreement and everybody understood to do the right thing and taking our time getting him back.”

Seattle designated for assignment right-handed pitcher Robert Dugger to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Giles.

“We feel like the talent that Ken brings to the table is special enough to merit carrying him on the roster this year, and helping him through the rehab process and making him feel like a part of our team and what we’re doing moving forward. That really matters,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

When healthy, Giles has been one of the top relievers in the American League. He had 34 saves and a 2.70 ERA in 63 appearances in 2017 for Houston. He had another 23 saves and a 1.87 ERA in 53 games for Toronto in 2019. Giles had 83 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 53 innings pitched for the Blue Jays.

But arm trouble emerged last season. Giles appeared in just four games before deciding in late September to undergo Tommy John surgery. Giles said he initially thought his arm issues were just general soreness, but additional scans showed his elbow ligament was deteriorating.

“It was better to get it done before it actually popped and it being much worse than it could have been,” Giles said.

Giles met with Servais as pitchers and catchers reported to the team’s spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona, this week. Servais said the likely plan is for Giles to remain in Arizona rehabbing after the team heads north for the start of the regular season.

Giles said a handful of teams had reached out with similarly structured deals to what Seattle presented but the Mariners were the most aggressive in the process. He said proximity was a major selling point. Giles lives full-time just miles from the Mariners’ spring training facility.

“Them being right down the street from where I actually live was a big plus for us, so I’d be able to spend a lot of family time for a whole year rehabbing, and also having a good family support while I’m here, but also having access to a major league facility during my process,” Giles said.

Notes: The bullpen has been an offseason priority. Seattle added Keynan Middleton and Rafael Montero, and will likely get hard-throwing youngster Andrés Muñoz back at some point this season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

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