Ken Giles would give up 2017 World Series ring

Ken Giles
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Current Blue Jays closer Ken Giles was a big part of the Astros club that won a championship in 2017, recording 34 saves with a 2.30 ERA over 65 2/3 innings. Of course, as we recently learned, that team was up to no good, engaging in an elaborate sign-stealing scheme throughout the season, including in the playoffs.

We learned about the Astros’ cheating ways thanks to pitcher Mike Fiers, a teammate of Giles’ in ’17. Some have questioned Fiers’ motivation and authenticity for coming forward. “Why now?” some have asked. Others have suggested that Fiers ought to be willing to give up the World Series ring he received for his work three seasons ago.

Though no one has actually made the request, Giles would give up his 2017 World Series ring if asked, he told Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. “Whatever they ask, I would oblige,” Giles said. “Because what was going on at the time was not OK.”

Giles says he was not involved in the cheating himself. He added, “It crushed me to learn about the stuff that went on when I was there.”

It’s easy to believe Giles because he was never comfortable as a member of the Astros. He said in September of 2018, nearly two months after being traded to the Blue Jays, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” He described himself as feeling “trapped” and “out of place” with the Astros.

Giles shouldn’t have to give up his ring, though. The league isn’t vacating the Astros’ title, so it’s a pointless exercise based on that alone. More importantly, the league doesn’t cover the cost of the rings; they were paid for by team owner Jim Crane. A lot of fans are understandably concerned with superficial things like vacating the Astros’ title and the players giving up their rings, but neither addresses the root issue, which is that the league incentivizes cheating, partially because it does very little to prevent it. Giles returning his ring might make a few non-Astros fans feel better, but it’s ultimately not worth the effort.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”