6:19pm: A source tells Salisbury that a trade sending Giles to Houston is “close” but not done yet (Twitter link).
2:57pm: Salisbury tweets that the Phillies have pushed back their media session for the day, which could be in relation to talks centering around Giles. ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that Lance McCullers won’t be included in a deal for Giles, as the Astros are set on keeping him.
2:28pm: Trade talks between the Astros and Phillies centering around brilliant young closer Ken Giles are “heating up,” reports CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury (Twitter link). Houston has long been linked to top-flight relief arms, and Giles would not only give the club a dominant arm to slot into the ninth inning but also a controllable option for that role, as he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.
Giles, who turned 25 in late September, took over as closer in Philadelphia following the trade of Jonathan Papelbon and continued to display the dominance he’s exhibited since breaking into the Majors upon being moved to a more prominent role. In 115 2/3 career innings, the former seventh-round pick has a masterful 1.56 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 44.6 percent ground-ball rate. Giles’ fastball has averaged just a shade under 97 mph in the Majors (96.8), so he’d satisfy Houston GM previously stated interest in adding a hard-throwing arm that the back end of the Astros’ bullpen presently lacks.
The asking price on Giles, one would imagine, is exceptionally high. The Red Sox paid the substantial price of Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen for three years of Craig Kimbrel. While Giles doesn’t have Kimbrel’s lengthy track record of dominance in the Majors, he’s delivered comparable results and comes with two more years of control than did Kimbrel, two of which figure to be near the league-minimum in terms of salary. Giles should narrowly fall shy of Super Two status (he currently has one year, 113 days of Major League service time) and won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2017 season.