Phillies Discussed Ken Giles with the Astros

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported earlier today that the Phillies and Astros discussed a potential trade involving closer Ken Giles. The Phillies asked about young pitchers Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez. Crasnick adds that the Phillies have received a lot of trade interest in Giles and that trade talks are likely to intensify at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.

At the GM meetings in November, Matt Klentak said that “it’s not a goal” for the Phillies to trade Giles, as MLB.com’s Paul Casella reported.

He’s right: the Phillies are under no pressure to trade Giles by the time spring training rolls around. They have him under team control through 2020 and he could be a valuable member of the bullpen by the time the Phillies are ready to be competitive again.

That being said, the Phillies would be irresponsible if they did not investigate potentially trading the right-hander. While it seems doubtful the Astros would part with both McCullers and Velasquez — McCullers was a global top-100 prospect before the 2014 season and Velasquez was top-100 prior to the start of last season — the Phillies could still make an upgrade in terms of value. Relievers only have so much value because they accrue comparatively few innings, so turning him into a #3 starter or an everyday second baseman would be an upgrade. Bonus points if more than one position can be addressed with the trade.

The Craig Kimbrel trade between the Red Sox and Padres will serve as a point of comparison for any trade the Phillies make. Giles doesn’t have the name brand value of Kimbrel, but five years of team control rather than two more than makes up for it. The Padres received four minor league players, including highly-touted outfielder Manuel Margot, in the deal. At the very least, the Phillies should be looking for one global top-100 prospect in a return.

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30 comments

  1. Peter

    December 02, 2015 05:49 PM

    Waiting til the trade deadline seems to make much more sense in returning the most for a largely unproven closer.

    • Andrew R.

      December 02, 2015 09:46 PM

      I disagree, Peter. Nobody knows when a trade value will be at its highest. Many people wanted the Phillies to trade Hamels in 2012 before they extended him. We would’ve received a package highlighted by Mike Olt. That was the goal. Many people wanted him traded two winters ago, two Julys ago, etc..

      I think if there’s a package that’s worth making a trade, you do it. Giles got off to a slow start last year, barely breaking 95 mph. There was some worry there. If we can get a starting pitcher for the future and another piece, let’s go for it.

      • Peter

        December 02, 2015 10:43 PM

        OK, if you think teams are more desperate now than v. the heat of a pennant race; but I doubt it. Both sides will seek a clear win or walk during the winter.
        And p.s. – I do believe Cole was indeed treaded at the deadline & not over the winter.

      • Andrew R.

        December 02, 2015 11:57 PM

        I hate it when you respectfully disagree and people get snarky in their responses.

      • Peter

        December 02, 2015 11:59 PM

        How is my response snarky?

      • Pete

        December 03, 2015 04:44 AM

        I gotta side with Peter. That reply barely registers on the snark-o-meter.

      • Rob

        December 03, 2015 08:24 AM

        There are two factors which will effect Giles value between now and the deadline. The first is his performance. It’s difficult to see that going up over half a season but could easily go down due to injury or velocity. The second issue is the market, whilst one team may be more motivated in July than now, it’s quite likely there are more teams interested in a cheap closer at the beginning of the season so the Phillies may be able to leverage a higher return now. I believe there is a case for moving now IF the price is right.

      • Peter

        December 03, 2015 01:11 PM

        OK Well Here Goes the Snark:
        I love it when people think they are making an arguement/taking a position by stating conclusionary pablum like:
        “I think if there’s a package that’s worth making a trade, you do it.”
        “I believe there is a case for moving now IF the price is right.”
        Well, no S Sherlock….that’s not really the question, now is it?

      • Pete

        December 03, 2015 10:56 PM

        Damn it, Peter. You had me, now you lost me. There’s nothing wrong with the tone of Rob’s reply either. When did everyone get so sensitive? I imagine we’re all reading this posts aloud using our most condescending and sarcastic voices.

    • TommyDigital

      December 03, 2015 01:47 PM

      All big spenders are “in it” right now…come deadline time some won’t be buyers.

    • Rob

      December 03, 2015 02:00 PM

      Fair point, should have concluded: “should do a decent deal now not hold out for a great one later as the risks of Giles getting worse or the market shrinking out way the potential gains.”

      • Peter

        December 03, 2015 06:21 PM

        What’s the hurry? Are you that hard up for 2 middling prospects? The same random injury risk & performance risk is attached to the guys you get back – your claim to want to avoid those risks is largely illusionary.

  2. Major Malfunction

    December 03, 2015 08:59 AM

    Here’s a fun stat.

    All time using only 1st 2 seasons in MLB and minimum of 100 games pitched. Ranking by FIP, Giles is 2nd all time to only Kimbrel. Going by ERA+, he’s 3rd. If you take this at face value, his 1st 2 seasons as a reliever are historic and in the top 1% of the top 1% of all time.

    Obviously 2 relief season is not a career nor indicative of reserving a plaque in the HoF, but its so far up the chart that his regressing would still make him elite. Add in the team salary control and he’s currently equating to Kimbrel on a Waffle House salary.

    Still, his stats are so historic I would love to see him in a Phils uniform for a looooong time. Fans love it when Giles goes out there, looks angry, and mows them down with 100 mph cheese to close the door. Put him on the mound in 2019 for the World Series and he’s a Brad Lidge moment all over again.

    Anyway, one can dream.

    • Romus

      December 03, 2015 01:01 PM

      Maj.Mal……again great stat work. That is really something when you think about it.
      Giles’ future does paint a very rosy picture and other GM have to see the same projection, and of course the usual risks that go with pitchers. Whether or not he remains for the next core’s maturation with the Phillies will be debatable. He could be the prime valued tradable player.

    • Peter

      December 03, 2015 01:18 PM

      Giles is largely unproven. He might be the next Broxton & poop his pants come real pressure. Giles has only closed for 2 months, for a last place team, & nothing on the line besides personal pressure to prove that he’s a legit major leaguer. That test he has passed, but his value can only go up with more demonstrated success.

      • Romus

        December 03, 2015 01:44 PM

        Peter,
        When it comes to pitchers….starters or relievers and for Klentak and Company, it comes down to the Cliff Lee/Bert Hamels dilemma and the risk.

      • Peter

        December 03, 2015 05:34 PM

        Granted that there is always injury risk with every player, but Giles is unlike Lee/Hamels in that he is in no way as established/matured/ripened as those guys. With Lee/Hamels the greater risk is selling too late as they’re not going to be getting any better/more established; while with Giles the bigger risk is selling too early, unless you don’t ultimately believe in Giles as a legit star closer?

    • Pete

      December 03, 2015 11:05 PM

      Exactly, Major. Compared to 2 WAR relievers, 2 WAR outfielders and infielders grow on trees (slight exaggeration). A trade of Giles for a 2 WAR position player (or player who develops into one) is a bad trade because you aren’t going to find another Giles, ever. We’ll see dozens of the latter players.

      I think I asked this in a previous post and apologize if I missed an answer, but isn’t 2 WAR across 50 innings more valuable than 2 WAR across 500 innings? Or am I missing something fundamental in the underlying concepts about WAR (which is a distinct possibility)?

  3. derekcarstairs

    December 03, 2015 09:40 AM

    Luck is always a factor in deals like this. Had Kimbrel not been available this off-season, the Red Sox might have gone after Giles and offered the Phils a package only somewhat less than what they gave for Kimbrel.

    While a good argument can be made that three years of Kimbrel at $38 million (counting the option year) is worth more than five years of Giles at $25 million or so (two pre-arb years and three arb years), Giles might be the second most attractive closer available. Although Chapman is better than Giles, Giles is very good, and five years of Giles is more valuable than one year of Chapman.

    The question is whether or not, in the next year or so, another buyer will appear that 1) has an urgent need for a top closer, 2) values the closer role highly, and 3) has good, young talent that it is willing to part with. This is the luck factor.

    If the Phils are patient and lucky, they could get a great return for Giles. If they are patient, but not so lucky, the return should still be pretty good.

  4. macduff

    December 03, 2015 03:19 PM

    Surprising Mariano was not at the top of the reliever stats.

    • Romus

      December 03, 2015 04:46 PM

      His first 100 innings pitched were below average…..partly because he began his MLB career as a starter. Then the Yankees switched him into the pen after the first year. He only had one save in his entire minor league career, in rookie ball.

    • Shawn

      December 03, 2015 04:46 PM

      Probably just because Mariano began his career as a starter. He had 10 starts in 19 total games in his first season and a 5.51 ERA.

      • Francisco (FC)

        December 04, 2015 12:57 PM

        Just goes to show that to be truly great… you need to fail first!

    • Major Malfunction

      December 04, 2015 12:40 PM

      Yes, what they said. Then one year he shows up in spring training as a mediocre reliever, but is suddenly throwing in the mid to high 90’s. Add the cutter and the rest is history. He had no explanation on the sudden increase in velocity and said God did it.

      Saw that in a documentary during his farewell season on ESPN, I believe.

      • Major Malfunction

        December 07, 2015 09:01 AM

        I can’t help but notice that someone gave my comment a MINUS ONE and I’m perplexed as to what was perceived as negative in my comment.

        If you think I’m making the improved velocity thing up or that he said “God did it”, you can stick it up your ass. Google it and you will see that I’m 100% correct on this bit of information and was doing nothing more than presenting it as an interesting fact.

        nymag.com/nymetro/news/sports/features/9375/index1.html

        “Rivera is certain that God is responsible for an inexplicable increase in the velocity of his fastball, which came at a time when the Yankees were preparing to trade him. At the outset of the 1995 season, Rivera was a minor-league prospect with ordinary stuff: a good changeup, a decent breaking ball, a fastball that usually topped out at 88 to 90 mph…….”

  5. Romus

    December 05, 2015 07:46 AM

    With the D-Backs signing Greinke now….perhaps Dave Stewart will now be interested in giving up an additional pitching prospect for Giles. They have about 5/6 decent pitching prospects, you would think, two less cannot hurt them any.

    • 100Bucks

      December 06, 2015 07:02 AM

      The Price and Greinke signings should also remind us of how team friendly Hamels’deal was. That trade was great for Texas and I believe it will turn out to be great for the Phils. Regarding, Giles, we need to keep him unless someone wants to over pay us in a trade.

      • Romus

        December 06, 2015 07:54 AM

        The Mac/Klen duo could set up a bidding war between the Cubs, Astros and D-Backs starting tomorrow at the winter meetings.
        That could result in an over payment of sorts……not sure that a Kimbrel return is in the making , but two top pitching prospects would not be out of the question..

  6. jimpeyton19

    December 05, 2015 05:22 PM

    Bill, your link for McCullers took me to 51-year old Lance “Baby Goose” McCullers. You must be using BR’s linker app.

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