The fallout from the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal has reached the Toronto Blue Jays. Ken Giles closed for the Astros from 2016 through his trade to Toronto in July 2018, so his time in Houston overlaps with the sign-stealing scheme laid out by commissioner Rob Manfred in his report.

Over the weekend Giles told the Toronto Star's Rosie DiManno he was completely unaware of the sign-stealing scandal -- "I was not aware about anything," he said -- and he is willing to return his 2017 World Series ring. From DiManno:

"Whatever they ask, I would oblige. Because what was going on at the time was not OK." 


"It just hurts. If they want it back, I'll be true to whatever needs to be done." 

It seems unlikely any 2017 Astros player was unaware of the scheme -- let's be frank, they've earned zero benefit of the doubt -- though Giles has a better alibi than most. He's a reliever and was out in the bullpen during games, not in the dugout near the trash can banging. That said, many closers remain in the dugout until the third or fourth inning, then make their way to the bullpen.

"It crushed me to learn about the stuff that went on when I was there," Giles told DiManno. "I had no idea. I had no clue whatsoever. I was blindsided by the commissioner's report. Up until then, I honestly didn't believe it. Just crazy."  

The Athletic first reported on the sign-stealing scheme in November, and Manfred announced his punishment and released his report in January.

Giles' stint with the Astros was rocky -- he lost the closer's job during the 2017 postseason and clashed with former manager A.J. Hinch prior to his trade to the Blue Jays -- though there doesn't seem to be any hard feelings. "I feel awful, how the guys are being punished," he told DiManno. Giles was traded to Toronto in the controversial Roberto Osuna deal.

As a closer, it's possible Giles was personally enriched by the sign-stealing even if he was truly unaware of it. More offense ostensibly equals more leads to protect, and Giles saved 46 games for the Astros from 2017-18. Saves pay well in arbitration, and Giles earned $6.3 million in his second year of arbitration-eligibility in 2019. He'll make $9.6 million in 2020.

Giles is the second 2017 Astros player to say he would return his World Series ring, joining whistleblower Mike Fiers.