Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles knows his World Series ring is tainted. After learning of the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal, Giles — a member of the 2017 Astros — said he would give back his ring if asked, according to the Toronto Star.
Giles, 29, is the first member of the team to go that far. When asked, most players from the 2017 Astros defer to Major League Baseball still recognizing the team’s World Series title. If Rob Manfred had vacated the Astros’ title, players may have been more conflicted about that stance.
While no one — other than angry fans — has asked the Astros to give back their rings, Giles says he would if “they” ask. Giles told the Toronto Star, “Whatever they ask, I would oblige. Because what was going on at the time was not OK.”
Presumably, Giles is talking about MLB when he says “they.”
Later in the conversation, Giles again confirms he would give up his World Series ring. “It just hurts,” he told the Star. “If they want it back, I’ll be true to whatever needs to be done.”
Despite that, Giles admits he feels bad for the current Astros, calling them “great people.” He also made it clear, however, that he isn’t a fan of how the team has responded to the scandal.
“I feel awful, how the guys are being punished,” the 29-year-old Blue Jays closer told the Star on Friday, in his first forthright conversation about the scandal. “They’re great people, they really are, and great ballplayers. But I guess sometimes you just have to roll with it. Either be quiet or speak up and tell the truth. Go out there and perform, show them what you’re made of. Competition-wise, it’s going to be harder, in all of baseball, because now they’ll want to show that it’s man to man and not just computer to computer.”
Giles was a key contributor during the team’s 2017 World Series run. He posted a 2.30 ERA and 34 saves over 62 2/3 innings in the regular season. He struggled in the playoffs, though, putting up an 11.74 ERA in seven games.
After being traded to the Blue Jays in 2018, Giles turned in a fantastic 2019. In 53 innings, Giles posted a 1.87 ERA. The Blue Jays aren’t expected to compete in 2020, meaning Giles could once again find himself on the trade block in July.
With another season like 2019, Giles could be in the thick of the playoffs come October. That would present Giles with an opportunity to win another ring, one that isn’t tainted by a cheating scandal.
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