Houston Astros: Team Deal for Giles, give up Appel, Velasquez to Phillies
By Colin Gay
Ken Giles is officially joining the Houston Astros
It may have taken awhile, but the Houston Astros trade for Ken Giles became official today. According to Houston Chronicle writer Evan Drellich and multiple other sources, the Astros got Giles and 17-year-old Panamanian shortstop Jonathan Arauz in return for right-handed pitchers Mark Appel, Harold Arauz, Vincent Velasquez, Thomas Eshelman, and left-handed pitcher Brett Oberholtzer.
Three days ago, the Giles deal was said to have gone through with Oberholtzer, Velasquez, and Eshelman in the deal. However, the main prospect in the deal was the eighth best prospect in the Astros system, outfielder Derek Fisher.
According to a tweet from Drellich, Jeff Luhnow said that the Astros “have been working with the Phillies on two weeks” and that “no deal was complete until today.”
This deal was all about filling a need for the Astros, and they were willing to give a lot for him either way. Appel, the first pick in the 2013 draft, was the number two prospect in the Astros farm system and Eshelman was the fourteenth best prospect.
The Phillies got what they were looking for from the Astros with five pitchers going to Philadelphia in the deal. That is why Fisher didn’t go in the deal. If traded and with prospects Daz Cameron and Kyle Tucker still pretty far away from major league action, the Astros could have been lacking in outfield depth with Colby Rasmus signed to only a one-year deal and top prospect Brett Phillips going to the Brewers in a deal for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers.
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The pitchers that went to the Phillies in the deal have huge potential to change the pitching outlook for Philadelphia for years to come. Velasquez, whom the Phillies have already said is going to be used as a starter, has 55.2 major league innings under his belt and averaged 10.8 strikeouts in his five seasons in the minors. Appel has been inconsistent in the minors but has the title of the first overall pick to increase his potential value.
Editor’s Note: Add these two guys to a rotation that already has Aaron Nola, this could be a great trade for the Phillies.
Known as 100 Mile Giles, Ken Giles is now under club control with the Astros fro five more seasons and is only owed $519,000 next season. Those five seasons of club control were huge in this deal because other closers that were being dealt, such as Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman only have two and one years of control left with their respective teams. Giles, the Phillies closer last season after Papelbon left for the Nationals, has a career 1.56 ERA, which is the lowest in baseball history after a minimum of 100 innings pitched.
Also, Giles has thrown a total of fourteen 100 miles per hour pitches since 2014 and as a team, the Astros have only thrown one. This hard-throwing closer type will be very different for this Astros team, who has not had a long-term, stable closer since Brad Lidge.
Next: Astros Were Among the Winner of the Winter Meeting, Giles
What is next for this Astros team? According to a tweet from Drellich, Luhnow, and the Astros organization will now focus on starting pitching and/or a bat. With this deal done, though, the Astros are off and running in this 2015 offseason.