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Astros Trade For Closer Ken Giles to Shore Up Bullpen

The Houston Astros have traded for reliever Ken Giles to shore up their bullpen, but at a hefty cost.

Giles a closer was acquired by Houston from the Philadelphia Phillies for Vincent Velasquez a reliever, pitcher Brett Oberholtzer and a third player, who is believed to be Derek Fisher an outfielder in the minor leagues.

The Phillies are in a rebuilding mode and opted to ship their talented young closer to another team to receive a nice return.

Velasquez debuted in 2015 with the Astros with seven starts while appearing 12 times in relief. He pitched solid for a pitcher who prior to last season never pitched above Class A. His talent and the pitches he possesses will one day make him an impact reliever.

Oberholtzer is a lefthander who is 26. He has 42 career starts in the majors. He does not have a knockout pitch and is a possible rotation pitcher for Philadelphia next season.

Fisher hit .275 in Class A last season.

Houston in the meantime gets a talented youngster. Giles is just 25 and has an ERA of 1.56 for his career in 115 plus innings of work.

In 2015, he posted an ERA of 1.80 but allowed 9 unearned runs.

The closer’s strikeout rate dropped and his walk rate increased in 2015 compared to 2014.

He has a tremendous amount of talent, but the steps backwards as far was strikeouts and walks could be concerning over the long term if they continue.

Some Astros fans think the team gave up too much for the reliever. One reason is Game 4 of the Astros division series versus Kansas City. Houston blew a lead of 6-2 during the eighth inning and then lost Game 5.

If Houston relievers protect that lead of four runs, the World Series Champion would not be the Royals.

The bullpen was strong during the regular season for Houston, but that playoff inning highlighted its need for a strong, power arm.

Houston was sixth last season in the majors with a bullpen ERA of 3.27 and third in strikeout rate.

Houston is hoping its acquisition equals an elite closer. Amongst 132 relievers last season who pitched a minimum of 50 innings Giles was: 6th in ERA, 47th in batting average, 22nd in K rate, 84th in walks and 3rd in home runs allowed.

Those numbers do not equal an elite closer, but likely in the top 10.

As some Astros’ fans wake up Thursday questioning the trade, others wonder if it was worth it. That can be answered next October.

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