Phillies ‘Close’ to Trading Ken Giles to Astros


The Philadelphia Phillies have dealt their closer.

The Phillies have agreed in principle to trade closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston.

It’s assumed by Brian Fisher, he means Derek Fisher, the Astros’ eighth best prospect. (Update: He does.)

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, who was all over this story, was the first of many to suggest that the deal was close.

In parts of two seasons with the Phillies, Giles accumulated 3.7 WAR (per Fangraphs), while posting a 1.56 ERA and saving 16 games. Prior to the club trading Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals at the July trading deadline, Giles also showed the ability to be an elite set-up man.

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Giles, 25, is under team control for the 2016 season. After next season he will be arbitration eligible for the first time, meaning that he can’t become a free-agent until after the 2020 season.

Vincent Velasquez, who was connected to this trade by ESPN’s Jayson Stark weeks ago, is the headliner returning to the Phillies. As has been pointed out by many, Velasquez did pitch in 19 major league games a season ago (seven of which were starts) but he still could open the season in the minor leagues.

Baseball America delivered this scouting report of Velasquez this past summer.

"As the lat strain showed, health has been the issue for Velasquez. He had a stress fracture and ligament strain in his right elbow in 2009 and didn’t pitch his junior season at Garey High in Pomona, Calif., and he has only pitched 290 pro innings despite being drafted in the second round in 2010. He’s a Tommy John survivor (2011) and missed two months last season because of a groin injury.That said, even with 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel in the organization, Velasquez might have the highest ceiling of any of Houston’s pitching prospects. He has an explosive fastball that registers 92-95 mph that plays up because of late life and pairs that with a plus changeup. The curve is still developing, but has the promise of at least an average offering. Velasquez has a loose, quick arm, is athletic and brings an assertive approach to the mound. He has all the elements of at least a mid-rotation starter."

Salisbury also reported this evening that 26 year-old lefty Brett Oberholtzer was likely to be involved in this deal, and it appears that he will. In 45 career games, 42 of those were starts, Oberholtzer has posted a 3.94 ERA, with a 3.72 FIP.

Oberholtzer will probably have a hand in filling out the team’s rotation, and do so at an affordable price.

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Fisher, an outfielder, was ranked as the Astros’ eighth best prospect by MLB Pipeline, hit .275 with eighth homeruns between low-a and high-a last season.

"Fisher broke his hamate during his junior season at Virginia, sidelining him for six weeks. But he recovered in time to get back on the field to help the Cavaliers to a runner-up finish in the College World Series and to convince the Astros to pick him 37th overall.Fisher’s smooth left-handed swing allows him to hit for both average and power. He’s a plus runner and, though basestealing isn’t a big part of Virginia’s offensive philosophy, he showed during his professional debut that he can be a disruptive force on the basepaths.While Fisher’s speed allows him to cover ground well in the outfield, his below-average arm strength limits him to left field defensively. That puts more pressure on his bat to carry him through the Minor Leagues, but his tools give him the chance to be an impact hitter."

According to multiple reports, first by scribe Todd Zolecki, there is a 4th player coming back to Philadelphia in the Giles deal.

Once a name surfaces of who that player could be, we’ll provide more information.

This post will be updated as more information comes in.

Section 215’s Tim Kelly also contributed to the writing of this article.