Phillies Rumors: Club Seeking ‘Huge’ Return for Ken Giles


Will the Philadelphia Phillies trade their closer?

Multiple outlets reported at last week’s general manager meetings that the Phillies were shopping closer Ken Giles, at least to some extent.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports went as far as saying that the Phillies had made Giles ‘available’, though he would later say that their asking price for him was ‘high‘.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark piggy-backed on what Heyman said, telling a Twitter user today that the Phillies have a ‘huge’ asking price for Giles.

The Tigers, who have long been searching for back end of the bullpen help, acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers today, choosing to take on the nearly $10 million left on his deal rather than trading a haul of prospects for someone like Giles, who is under team control through 2020. 

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That move followed up the very nice package of prospects that the Boston Red Sox traded to the San Diego Padres for Craig Kimbrel last week. The package was highlighted by Manuel Margot, a piece that some thought could be a headliner in a Cole Hamels to Boston deal before he was eventually traded to the Texas Rangers.

Comparing Giles and Rodriguez is simple. The Tigers got someone who won’t be as good of a closer and isn’t someone who is more than a short-term fix, but they didn’t have to give up relevant prospects to do so. That was the decision that the Tigers organization made.

The Red Sox organization, which I can’t help but think isn’t headed in the right direction, traded a pretty good package of prospects for Kimbrel, who has been the best closer in the league over the past five seasons. That said, when you trade for a closer, trading for someone who has been successful for a long time already isn’t normally the proper blue-print. Most closers don’t last into their early-40’s like Mariano Rivera did. Kimbrel is still only 27, but he’s racked up quite a bit of innings on his arm.

Kimbrel is also owed $24 million through 2017, with an $13 million club option for 2018 that contains a $1 million buy-out. So Kimbrel won’t necessarily be a bargain either.

So trading for someone like Giles, who can’t be a free-agent until after the 2020 season and seemingly is in the midst of the early part of his prime would seem to make more sense for most teams.

However, most teams around the league seem more interested in going one of the other two routes than giving up a bunch of prospects for a player, especially at a position like closer.

Another route is just overpaying for a free-agent closer. The Phillies did it with Jonathan Papelbon in 2012, and both David Robertson and Andrew Miller were paid hefty sums of money to be closers last off-season.

The good thing about the Phillies’ situation is that while trading Giles in this market may make sense, they certainly don’t need to and it’s not far-fetched at all to think he could be part of the next Phillies team to make the playoffs.

Next: What Can Phillies Expect From Ryan Howard in 2016?

Still, it’s discouraging to see teams like the Red Sox give up a pretty good package of prospects for a veteran in Kimbrel who is expensive, but know they probably weren’t willing to give up an even bigger package of prospects for someone in Giles who is younger and significantly cheaper than Kimbrel. The Phillies, much like the situation they were in with Hamels, may have been able to get a massive package for Giles five or 10 years ago when prospects were valued less and not as many teams handed out massive deals. But in 2015, teams probably won’t be interested in giving up a ton of prospects for Giles.