Ken Giles to Houston in exchange of Vincent Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer and Derek Fisher.
Analysis to follow. In the meantime, discuss below.
Now it seems as though there is a fourth player heading to Philadelphia to complete the deal.
Just to recap, Ken Giles will be 25 for most of 2016 (he won't turn 26 until September 20). He was the Phillies' 7th Round pick in 2011. In the minors he struck out 190 batters in 140.2IP, walking 90. In 2014 and 2015 for the Phillies he threw 115.2IP, 84H/20ER, 151K:36BB for a 4.19 K:BB ratio, 11.7 K/9. Or, he has faced 464 major league batters, and allowed 121 of them to reach base. That is Not A Lot of Baserunners.
His four-seam fastball averages 97mph, though he can touch 100mph, and hit 103mph at Clearwater. Giles told CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury before the 2014 season:
When I'm at the ballpark - people have seen it, my teammates have seen it - it's like I flip a switch. I have like a second personality. I'm very hard to approach when I'm at the park. It looks like I don't want to talk to anybody, but I'm in the zone right there and then. I love to compete. I love a challenge. People always say I have the personality to be a late-game reliever and I agree with that.
His four most similar pitchers through Age 24 seasons (via Baseball Reference) include Bruce Sutter, Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, and Joakim Soria.
The #Astros acquire Ken Giles pending physical. Giles has a career 1.56 ERA. The lowest in baseball history (minimum 100 innings pitched).— Ace of MLB Stats (@theaceofspaeder) December 10, 2015
Giles also will pitch for league minimum until 2018, and then he goes to arbitration and won't be a free agent until he's 21.
Now, a Contrarian would say:
Precisely. RT @MatthewHLeach it's even conceivable that you can make another one out of Velasquez.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) December 10, 2015And I would say: Gosh! Why didn't LOSENOW think of that? Just "make another elite closer!" It's that simple! Head down to the baseballin' factory and build a 24-year old pitcher who throws 100mph like it's a damn Build-A-Bear. Be sure to put the heart inside of him before he's stitched up, in case you lose him!
And after I got punched I would say: And the Phillies are in a position with their franchise in which they can play around with that option and see if it works. The Astros are no longer in that position. They needed the proverbial fireballin' gunslinger type to come in and shut down the game. After making the playoffs and building towards their Sports Illustrated-appointed Window of Contention, the Astros are not as comfortable experimenting with their prospects with meaningful games on the line as, say, the Phillies might be.
So, yes, Velasquez might be able to slot right in to the back of the Phillies bullpen and pick up where Ken Giles left off. It's now up to the Phillies to see if that spaghetti sticks to the wall.
Yes, the Astros gave up some names, but do I feel better heading into 2016 and beyond? Yes. Yes I do.
What do the Astros do now? Look for starting pitching, according to McTaggart...
UPDATE on that 4th player headed to Philly:
Unidentified 4th player Astros are sending to the Phillies (a pitcher per @JSalisburyCSN) is not being kept quiet because of Rule 5 I’m told— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 10, 2015