We last saw Brad Penny pitch with the Giants in a relief role at the end of the 2012 season. He was bothered for a few weeks in August into September by a shoulder impingement, which prompted him to take the 2013 season off. However, he has been throwing and according to Troy Renck, he has been throwing well. Renck suggests the right-hander might make for a good risk-free signing.
Penny, however, is 35 years old, coming off of a year-long break, and hasn’t shown even a competent ability to miss bats since 2011. In 181.2 innings in 2011, Penny struck out just nine percent of batters faced, which was the worst rate among all qualified starters — markedly worse than Carl Pavano’s 10.7 percent strikeout rate in second-place. In 28 innings in 2012, he struck out 7.5 percent of batters. He lost about 2 MPH on all of his pitches since 2010 as well, which likely explains the inability to miss bats.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.