Did SF Giants wave the white flag with minor transaction?

Ken Giles
Ken Giles / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Just over a week ago, the SF Giants picked up an intriguing relief arm as a minor league free agent with hopes that he would finish his rehab from Tommy John surgery and be of use to the big league bullpen in September.

Now, after a total of four appearances with Giants minor league teams (one in the Arizona Complex League and three with Triple-A Sacramento), Ken Giles has been released.

From a look at just his results on the field this season, one might get the impression Giles was handed his walking papers because of, well, walks. He issued 13 of them in minor league play over 16 innings pitched (which included 14 games between two levels of the Seattle Mariners' system). Giles also allowed 21 hits - among them five home runs - at his four different affiliate stops. He did, however, show some dominance with 19 strikeouts.

Looking closer, the former Philadelphia, Houston and Toronto closer pitched well for Seattle in five appearances in June and July, and his three games with Sacramento produced two strikeouts and one run over two and two-thirds innings.

SF Giants do Giles a solid

So why was he suddenly released? According to Alex Pavlovic, the NBC Sports Bay Area Giants beat writer, it has to do with giving Giles a chance to compete in the postseason.

It's not difficult to read between the lines: if Pavlovic is correct on the reasoning, San Francisco brass seems to have soured on their own playoff chances in the last month, meaning having Giles on the big league roster would be a waste not only for him in his hopes of pitching in October but also for the team, giving a roster spot to an older player instead of someone younger trying to prove themselves for the first time.

The change in heart is notable a month after they held tight at the trade deadline, refusing to deal players such as Carlos Rodon and Joc Pederson who could have brought back prospect talent from a contender.

With the Orange and Black giving up on their hopes of a Wild Card spot a year after winning the NL West, it will be interesting to see who they give auditions to in the final month of play as they prepare for 2023.