Another day, and yet another major domino has fallen in the trade market. This time though, it’s in the relief pitcher market.
According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, the Philadelphia Phillies have traded 25-year-old right-handed reliever Ken Giles to the Houston Astros for a package of prospects, said to be centered around 23-year-old right-hander Vincent Velasquez. Berman initially broke the news, reporting that Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, and outfielder Derek Fisher were headed back to Philly. MLB.com Phillies beat reporter Todd Zolecki and CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury added that a fourth player would be coming back in the deal. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle goes on to note, that it’s unlikely an official announcement is made tonight.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) December 10, 2015
Phillies Astros deal w Giles is agreed on pending physicals, source confirms. Phils get 3 pitchers plus one more player
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) December 10, 2015
A fourth player is headed to Phillies in Giles deal.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) December 10, 2015
This move comes as little surprise to anyone, as it has been speculated for weeks that Houston would land the Phillies closer. Since the start of the offseason, the Astros have been linked to just about every closer on the market. Some relievers have been more heavily linked than others, but the general feeling was that Giles was always Houston-bound.
Following a season in which the Astros struggled to close out games at times, Giles will solidify the back-end of their bullpen. The acquisition of the flame-thrower seemingly pushes former Padres reliever Luke Gregerson into an eighth inning, set-up role.
Giles has wasted little time, making a name for himself in Philly. Since making his debut in the 2014 season, he’s gone 9-4, with 16 career saves and a 1.58 ERA while piling up massive strikeout numbers. Fifteen of those saves came, following the departure of Jonathan Papelbon back in July.
As a pitcher well-regarded for his dominant control, “100-mile” Giles could wind up being the one piece to push Houston over the top in 2016.
UPDATE: Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle is reporting that RHP Thomas Eshelman is the mystery prospect in the deal.
Source: Thomas Eshelman is 4th Astros player Phillies get for Ken Giles. Final haul pending meds: Velasquez, Fisher, Oberholtzer, Eshelman
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 10, 2015