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.