Astros Cheating Scandal: Former Houston Closer Willing to Give up World Series Ring

Former Houston Astros closer Ken Giles has admitted he would be prepared to relinquish the World Series ring he won in 2017 after the team was caught in a major sign-stealing scandal.

Giles recorded a career-best 34 saves with a 2.39 ERA during the 2017 regular season, but allowed at least one earned run in six of his seven games during the postseason.

His shaky performances didn't affect the Astros, who defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games to clinch the World Series.

The legitimacy of the title has been thrown into question over the last four months, since a report published by The Athletic revealed the Astros had illegally used technology to decipher their opponents' signs during the 2017 season and during part of the following campaign.

The signs were then relayed to Houston batters in real time by banging on a garbage can.

Astros players escaped punishment, while general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were suspended for the 2020 season and have since been fired by team owner Jim Crane.

Giles admitted what should have been an unforgettable career high now feels hollow.

"It just hurts," he told the Toronto Star, when asked whether his feelings on the 2017 World Series title have changed in the aftermath of the scandal. "If they [the MLB] want it [the ring] back, I'll be true to whatever needs to be done. [...]

"They [the Astros] are going to feel like the bad guys all year. I know what it feels like to be the bad guy. And it's not the greatest feeling. But actions speak louder than words. I just hope they play honestly."

Giles isn't the first player on the Astros roster in 2017 to offer to return the ring. Last month, Mike Fiers, the man who first disclosed the secrets of Houston's sign-stealing scheme to The Athletic, admitted he would be prepared to face whatever form of punishment may come his way.

"Suspensions, fines—I'm willing to take as much punishment as they do," Fiers, who now plays for the Oakland Athletics, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"If they ask me to (return the ring), it's not the end of the world."

In a nine-page report published in January, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league had established the scheme to steal signs was "player-driven."

Houston Astros, Ken Giles
Former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch #14 takes the ball from Ken Giles #53 in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park on July 10, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Bob Levey/Getty

Giles, however, insisted he was unaware of the plot as he spent most of his time in the bullpen, rather than in the dugout.

"I was not aware about anything," he added. "It crushed me to learn about the stuff that went on when I was there. 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 Astros were also fined a record $5 million and lost their first and second round picks in the 2020 and 2021 draft.

Manfred, however, has resisted calls for Houston players to be fined and for the team to be stripped of its 2017 title, explaining the league was mindful of creating a potentially game-changing precedent.

The decision only served to fuel the ire of fans and players of other teams, with Houston players receiving hostile receptions throughout their Spring Training games.

While Giles and Fiers have shown a far greater sense of remorse than any of their former teammates, the former admitted he felt sorry for the treatment Astros players were getting.

"I feel awful, how the guys are being punished,"

"They're great people, they really are, and great ballplayers. But I guess sometimes you just have to roll with it."