Philadelphia Phillies Rumors: Ken Giles Headed to Houston

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The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to send 25-year-old closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros in return for four players.

The Phillies entered this offseason looking to add pitching–and pitching and pitching and pitching. Well, Wednesday’s trade has brought them three arms that could slot into their rotation in the near future. In addition to those three arms, the Phils also added an outfielder to the mix in Derek Fisher, an Astros 1st round pick (37) in 2014.

The three pitchers–RHPs Vincent Velasquez and 2015 2nd round selection Thomas Eshelman as well as LHP Brett Oberholtzer–add some depth to the Philadelphia pitching staff. Velasquez made his Major League debut in 2015, going 1-1 with a 4.37 ERA in 19 games (7 starts) after making the jump to the big leagues straight from Double-A Corpus Christi.

Oberholtzer has shown flashes in the Majors but has never quite put it all together in the bigs–often shuttling between the minor leagues and Houston. Perhaps he will have some success if given an opportunity in a new city.

Eshelman only pitched 10.1 pro innings after the draft, totaling a 4.35 ERA between Rookie ball and A ball. In college, Eshelman’s calling card was his control, walking just 18 batters in three NCAA seasons according to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. Eshelman uses pinpoint control, while lacking a true “plus” pitch.

Fisher’s biggest tool is his bat. He hit .262 with Hi-A Lancaster this past season, totaling 16 homers and 63 RBIs for the JetHawks. He also added 23 stolen bases, giving him 31 on the season between stops in Quad Cities (A Ball), Lancaster and the Arizona Fall League. Fisher’s arm strength will likely leave him to left field duties as he progresses through the Phillies farm system.

Obviously Velasquez has the talent to become a team’s closer, but the Astros see their window opening and are taking a shot at this coming season, hence they had to trade for someone with more experience in the role. If Stark’s report turns out to be correct, Philadelphia did quite well for themselves without missing a beat.

Next: White Sox Land Lawrie

With this trade all but completed (pending physicals), the Philadelphia Philles rebuild may not take as much time as we were thinking. They also have the first pick in today’s Rule 5 Draft, and Baseball America is reporting that they are planning on taking outfielder Tyler Goeddel with that selection. The Phils have plenty of outfield depth in their system, and Goeddel is a name that many teams seemed to be after, meaning that he could be flipped for another pitching prospect, especially after landing Fisher.