Last week the Mariners made their first big-name signing of the offseason when they signed reliever Ken Giles to a reported 2-year contract. While he was reportedly signed for 2 years, Giles will in all likelihood not pitch next year due to having Tommy John surgery in September of 2020.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network now has the contract details for the deal between the Mariners and Giles which has not yet officially been reported.
So according to Heyman’s tweet, Giles contract is as follows:
2021: $1 million salary, $250 thousand signing bonus, $1.25 million total guaranteed.
2022: $5 million salary, $250 thousand signing bonus, $5.25 million total guaranteed.
2023: $9.5 million team option with a $500 thousand buyout
Giles Total Mariners contract: 2 years $7 million guaranteed, 3 years $16 million with a team option, $3 million in incentives
This is an absolute steal of a contract for the Mariners. While he will miss 2021 with Tommy John, Seattle only pays Giles $1.25 million for this season and then will pay him $5.25 million next year. This means that after Giles recovers from surgery (knock on wood) and sits out all of 2021, the Mariners will have a reliever with a 2.74 career ERA in his prime for just $5 million.
Then, if Giles impresses in 2022 Seattle can pick up his option for $9.5 million option, if not they can let him go for $500,000. $9.5 million would be the 11th highest salary for a relief pitcher next year, and in 2023 it could be closer to 15-20th. $5.5 million, his salary for 2022, would put him at 28th for next season.
Giles has a fastball that averages around 97 mph and his strikeout pitch is his slider. In his last healthy season, 2019, he was one of the best relievers in baseball with a 1.87 ERA, 23 saves, and a .248 xwOBA in 53 innings. While Giles’ ERA has bounced up and down (Around 2.00 in 2015, 2017, and 2019, and above 4.00 in 2016 and 2018) he has had relatively consistent FIP‘s and xwOBA’s except for 2018.
I am interested to see what the $3 million worth of incentives are in Giles’ contract, but regardless this contract is a steal. Giles could be a key part of two competing Mariners teams, and if he can’t find his old form or struggles like he did in 2018 then it’s just a 1 year $7 million investment that won’t cripple the team.