Fantasy Baseball

Philadelphia Phillies Trade Ken Giles to Houston Astros

The Houston Astros were after an upgrade at closer. It was the worst kept secret in baseball over the past several weeks. They finally got their guy when they traded three players to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for young fireballer Ken Giles. In exchange, the Phillies will get pitchers Vincent Velasquez and Brett Oberholtzer, minor league outfielder Derek Fisher, and a player to be named later.

Why the Astros make this trade

The Astros hit the ground running when the offseason began. Their number one target was a closer. They were in on Craig Kimbrel, but lost him to the Red Sox.  They were in on Aroldis Chapman, but the Dodgers seemingly won that battle. Now, Chapman is off the market until his domestic violence situation works itself out. Giles was arguably the third best arm on the market. He comes with a number of advantages. First, he is only 25 and has less than two years of service time. So, he cannot become a free agent until 2020 and will not be arbitration eligible until 2018. So, he is obviously a long-term solution.

I could bust out the advanced statistics, but most of you only care about the conventional ones. In almost two years, his career ERA is 1.56 and he has a 1.037 career WHIP. More than anything else, he brings the power arm that Jeff Luhnow has been coveting for a long time. He has 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in his career. Out of the other late inning options in Houston, that is by far the best. However, it is a move that makes the entire pen stronger. Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek shuffle back to the 8th and 7th innings respectively. Both have had a great deal of success in those roles. Moreover, they still have a young Josh Fields and Will Harris that will slot into middle relief roles where they have also been successful.

Why the Phillies make this trade

In short, an elite closer on a last place team is about as valuable as installing a Bose Stereo system into your 1974 Chevy Chevelle. Sure, you’ll have some great sounding tunes but that doesn’t do you much good if the car isn’t running. For most of last season, the Phillies rotation was a dumpster fire. If you took away Cole Hamels, their rotation was the worst in baseball history throughout the first four months. The Cole Hamels trade (along with their other trades) brought some much needed talent into the organization. Suddenly, things weren’t so bad in August and September.

Even though you could technically call him a prospect, Vince Velasquez succeeded at the big league level last season before being caught in a numbers game. Brett Oberholtzer had also succeeded in multiple opportunities before getting caught in that same numbers game. Both could immediately slot into the Phillies rotation and provide a significant upgrade over what they had for the majority of last season. Rosterresource.com does not have Velasquez in the rotation, but he could easily earn the role in Spring Training or be converted into a late inning reliever himself.

Derek Fisher spent his first full season in professional baseball last year and hit a collective .275/.364/.483 with 22 home runs and 31 stolen bases. Since none of this came above the A ball level, he isn’t a can’t miss prospect, but he has an intriguing power/speed combination. He should slot in as one of the Phillies top twenty prospects and serves to add more depth to their system.

What this deal means for you

As I said in another piece, there are a finite number of closer spots in the big leagues. Giles was a closer before this and he effectively took a job away from Luke Gregerson. If your league has holds as a category then Gregerson has value, but in a standard 5×5 league he might as well be dead. At the moment, the recently signed David Hernandez is being slotted in as the closer. I’d be shocked if he is the closer when the 2016 season ends. I would advise holding off before adding any Phillies reliever to your fantasy team. Technically, every team must have a closer, but sometimes you are better off getting a top flight setup guy than a shaky closer. There are always openings that happen during the season that you can take advantage of. As for Giles, his value just skyrocketed.

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