Astros History

Astros: Reviewing the 2015 Ken Giles trade with Phillies

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 09: Ken Giles #53 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 9, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 09: Ken Giles #53 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 9, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – MAY 15: Brian McCann #16 congratulates Ken Giles #53 of the Houston Astros after defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 5-3 in a game at Angel Stadium on May 15, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA – MAY 15: Brian McCann #16 congratulates Ken Giles #53 of the Houston Astros after defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 5-3 in a game at Angel Stadium on May 15, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

What the Astros Got

The main part of the return was Giles, who was coming off a season in which he pitched to a 1.80 ERA in 69 appearances. He had a career 1.56 ERA in two seasons with the Phillies, so there was every indication he’d be a stud at the back of the bullpen.

His first year in Houston wasn’t ideal, though. He worked to a 4.11 ERA in 69 appearances, with the main culprit being an inflated home run rate. After allowing a total of three home runs in 115.2 innings with the Phillies, he allowed eight long balls in 65.2 innings in 2016. He did strike out 102 batters, but his 1.294 WHIP was just too high.

He was much better in 2017, compiling a 2.30 ERA in 63 appearances with 34 saves. However, Giles was simply awful in the postseason, pitching to an 11.74 ERA, including allowing five runs in 1.2 frames in the World Series. He quickly lost the confidence of manager AJ Hinch, and that likely carried over into the following season.

He made 34 appearances for the Astros in 2018 and put up a 4.99 ERA, mainly due to giving up far too many hits. Giles seemed to have some difficulties with the mental side of the game as well, and it all culminated in him being dealt to the Blue Jays in July in the controversial trade for Roberto Osuna.

The other part of the deal, Jonathan Arauz reached Double-A in 2019. He’s still just 21 but has fallen out of the team’s top 30 prospect rankings thanks to a bat that could best be described as anemic. He’s a career .243 hitter in the minors with little power or stolen base ability.

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