SATURDAY 12:06pm: The Phillies have announced the trade. However, several components have changed. The Phillies will receive Velasquez, Oberholtzer, Eshelman, Mark Appel, and Harold Arauz. Derek Fisher, who was originally rumored to be headed to Philadelphia, is not part of the trade. The Astros will also receive infielder Jonathan Arauz from the Phillies. Although both are Panamanian prospects, the Arauz’s are not related.
Appel, the number one pick in the 2013 draft, has experienced mixed success in the minors. The 24-year-old reached Triple-A and posted a 4.48 ERA with 8.03 K/9 and 3.69 BB/9. MLB.com ranked Appel as the Astro’s second best prospect between 2015 draft picks Alex Bregman and Daz Cameron. He’s also ranked 43rd overall. His fastball velocity has been inconsistent in the minors, ranging from the low-90s to 98 mph. He also throws a slider and a changeup.
Harold Arauz, 20, pitched in Low-A last season with a 5.75 ERA, 9.06 K/9, and 3.14 BB/9 in 51 innings. Per Baseball America’s Ben Badler, Arauz leans heavily on a low-90s cutter. Badler also commented on Jonathan Arauz. The newly acquired Astro was ranked the 20th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League. The 17-year-old middle infielder was also considered the best Panamanian prospect in the 2014 international market.
In a related move, the Phillies have designated reliever Dan Otero to make room for Velasquez and Oberholtzer on the 40-man roster, tweets Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
THURSDAY 12:13am: The final player in the deal will be righty Thomas Eshelman, who will head from the Astros to the Phillies, the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich tweets. The 21-year-old Eshelman, a second-round pick this past June out of Cal State Fullerton, pitched just 10 1/3 innings in the Astros organization. Before the draft, MLB.com characterized him as a polished pitcher who could move through the minors quickly but might end up as a back-of-the-rotation type of starter. At the time of the trade, he ranked as the Astros’ 13th-best prospect.
WEDNESDAY 7:52pm: MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki tweets that a fourth player is headed to the Phillies in the deal as well.
7:38pm: The Astros and Phillies are in agreement on a trade that will send right-hander Vincent Velasquez, lefty Brett Oberholtzer and another prospect to Philadelphia in exchange for young closer Ken Giles, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter link). Outfielder Derek Fisher will also head to Philadelphia in the deal, Berman clarifies (on Twitter). The trade is pending medical reviews. CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury first broke news that the two sides were nearing an agreement, and he added details along with ESPN’s Jayson Stark as they emerged.
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’ll satisfy Houston GM Jeff Luhnow’s previously stated interest in adding a hard-throwing arm that the back end of the Astros’ bullpen had been missing.
By adding Giles, the Astros will deepen their bullpen considerably. Luke Gregerson, who performed well as the club’s primary closer in 2015, will return to the setup capacity in which he thrived for much of his career. He’ll be joined there by side-arming Pat Neshek, the quietly excellent Will Harris and Josh Fields in 2016. Houston will still need to address its dearth of left-handed relief options, however, as its two primary southpaws — Tony Sipp and Oliver Perez — both departed as free agents. Perez has since signed with the Nationals, though a reunion with Sipp remains a possibility, as he’s still a free agent and there has reportedly been mutual interest between the parties.
Houston will control Giles through at least the 2020 season if all goes well. With one year, 113 days of Major League service time, Giles will fall shy of Super Two designation and thus will not be arbitration eligible until the 2017-18 offseason. He’ll earn scarcely more than the league minimum in each of the next two seasons (barring an extension), providing Houston with financial flexibility to address needs elsewhere on the roster.
The centerpiece of the deal for the Astros is Velasquez — a 23-year-old righty who entered the 2015 season as a consensus Top 100 prospect and made his big league debut after performing exceptionally well at the Double-A level. Velasquez logged a 1.91 with a 45-to-13 K/BB ratio in 33 innings at Double-A in addition to posting a 4.37 ERA in 55 2/3 innings at the Major League level where he struck out 58 and walked 21. He’ll immediately be in the mix for a rotation spot with the Phillies, though it’s possible that Philadelphia may want to get Velasquez some time at Triple-A, where he has yet to throw so much as a single inning.
While Velasquez may need some additional development before slotting into the Phillies’ rotation on a full-time basis, Oberholtzer should be able to step into the starting five from day one. The 26-year-old has been up and down with the Astros over the past three seasons but has totaled 45 appearances (42 starts) and recorded a solid, if unspectacular 3.94 ERA with 5.9 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 38.5 percent ground-ball rate. That ground-ball rate, though, isn’t fully representative of Oberholtzer’s new skill set, as he began using a cutter in 2015 that upped his rate to 48.8 percent in his sample of 34 2/3 big league innings. He’ll give the Phillies an option at the back of their rotation that can be controlled for up to five years — the same as Giles — if he’s able to consistently perform in the Majors.
Fisher, meanwhile, was the 37th overall pick in the 2014 Draft and rated as the No. 8 prospect in a deep Houston farm system, per MLB.com. The Virginia product, whom Baseball America ranked 13th among Houston farmhands entering the season, is said in their scouting report to be a toolsy outfielder with plus-plus raw power that has yet to fully manifest. He draws praise for his bat speed and above-average running, though BA noted that he has a below-average arm and has questionable route-running, so left field is probably his ultimate home.
Still just 21 years old, Fisher split the season between Class-A and Class-A Advanced, hitting .275/.364/.483 with 22 homers and 31 stolen bases before going on to bat .254/.397/.424 in 17 games in the Arizona Fall League. He’s at least a full season away from the Majors and possibly two, but Fisher gives the Phillies a potential everyday outfielder down the line if he can keep hitting the way he did in 2015. MLB.com calls him a potential “impact hitter,” even if he isn’t believed to have a future as a strong defender.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Brett olberholtzer? The heck
Hes decent, he can eat innings
Smart decision by the Phillies, no need to hang onto a young closer in this reliever market.
Why, blue jays need to get a pieace of all theae trades
Get used to it, Shapiro/Atkins combo love to watch from the sidelines. That’s all they did in Cleveland.
What do they have to trade? They almost gutted the farm with the moves they made last year.
Gutted the farm system? The blue jays still have Pompey (top 100 prospect), 1st round pick Harris, Reid-Foley, Pentecost (another 1st round pick) as well as young guys in Devon Travis and others.
yeah thats like 1 package. and they arent trading their starting 2b. so its rather underwhelming. as you can see first round picks just arent worth as much as prospects in the upper minors.
Blue Jays farm system is depleted. Look at their rotation, they can’t afford to deal Jon Harris. And lots in baseball view him as a reliever longterm. And don’t forget the whole college fast track concept doesn’t apply with Harris who got shelled in his pro debut.
Pentecost has value with Catching position around baseball a mess, but he missed all of 2015. Simply, Jays system is depleted & needs to be restocked.
Good job ‘Stros! Who is the last prospect?
Derek Fisher. Ugh
D Fish could turn into a stud and move through the minors quickly. Went 20-30 in A ball and played well in the AFL. Nice add for Phils
Just Another Fan
Fisher and one more prospect….wow this is just like the Kimbrel package.
one station is reporting the last prospect is derek fisher
tom brunanskys black sock
Solid point guard
Can they turn around and trade him to the Rockets?
No Bobby Fisher! Checkmate!
AL west is definitely the most COMPETITIVE division of all
What about the NL Central?
NL Central = most overrated division. 40% of that division isn’t even trying to win. That equals inflated records.
Yes, that’s why I put COMPETITIVE and not the BEST
Only 5 teams in the NL Central had 90+ wins. 3 of those 5 came from the NL Central and they had the 3 best W/L records. How are they not the most competitive divisions. While we can say that the Brewers and Reds are in rebuild mode we can absolutely, without equivocation, say the same for the Rockies and Padres in the West and the Phillies and Braves in the East.
I meant there were 5 teams in the NL with 90+ wins…..
Just Another Fan
An excellent, top 75 MLB SP prospect, a reclamation project SP and the Astros 1st rd draft pick from 2014. Pretty good, but after AZ’s package today almost all other packages are going to look light. I think I’d rather have Boston’s package for Kimbrel than this, but I guess both are almost equal when you take into the slight risk with Giles, who hasn’t been good as long.
Who’s the reclamation SP?
Oh I miss read it. Oberholtzer
Phillies go with Nola, Velasquez, Eickoff, Hellickson and Oberholtzer as the rotation to start, along with Morgan, Thompson and Eflin by midseason.
Bullpen should look something like Araujo, Otero, Hernandez, Russell, Gomez, Garcia and Hinojosa.
Just Another Fan
That bullpen makes me sad.
So very, very sad…
The upside is actually pretty good, but it could get ugly… really ugly..
Atleast we have Jimmy Cordero to look forward too out there. He can touch 103.
What are you expecting from your team this year? Embrace the abysmal for 2-3 years. You get great draft picks as a result.
The Phillies were really bad last year because of that rotation — headlined by Aaron Harang, Sevy Gonazalez, Jerome Williams, Kevin Corriea, Alec Asher, David Buchanan, o’Sullivan and Billingsly. That cast of charactors combined for 104 starts last year. The lowest ERA of the bunch was Harang’s 4.86. Everyone else’s was over 5.
This year they have a full year of Nola, Eickoff, Velasquez, and top prospect Thompson should debut at some point.
they were really bad because of a lot more than the rotation, they are still going to be giving consistent ab’s to ryan howard, carlos ruiz, and the crap infield other than franco.
I expect better years from both the Braves and Phillies this year. More time being given to talented young mlb ready players will do both teams good.
Don’t forget about matt harrison when he gets healthy
Its very unlikely he pitches much this year. He has major injuries still.
No Soup For Yu!
Not when, but if.
No Soup For Yu!
I’d argue that Morgan has just as much of a chance at a rotation spot as Oberholtzer, if not more. Neither pithcer was overly impressive last year.
I agree. Morgan’s wheels will eventually fall off I’m afraid. He may be better suited in the bullpen than as a SP.
I actually expect Morgan to get better. Last year was his first year off TJ. He was a former top prospect for the Phillies. I think he can be a 30 start a year, ERA under 4-type.
I hope so. He could end up being the odd man out though, which would necessitate a move to the bullpen or elsewhere. That’s a good problem to have though. Better than trotting out Sean O’Sullivan, Kyle Kendrick, or the likes every fifth day.
It is sad to see Giles go. Hopefully Cordero is the real deal.
I certainly hope not. Why would the Phillies burn control over Velasquez when they aren’t competitive when they could just start him at AAA? Makes zero sense.
Great trade Astros. All three were expendable… Immediate improvement to the ML roster, for both teams, plus Derek Fisher to the Phils system.
I’m glad we held onto AJ Reed.
Sounds horrible for the Phillies 🙁
Its not terrible. Velasquez has pretty good potential. He definitely has more potential than Nola or Eickoff does.
Oberholtzer… well… hes a backend starter/ LH reliever. Nothing special, but servicable.
Fisher has a really good bat and can really run. Hes nothing special defensively (from what I read), but definitely a high-upside bat.
Phillies are getting a 4th player though, so theres that.
Where are the numbers that show he definitely has more potential than Nola? Plus, Nola’s upside is a 2, VV’S is a 3, and considering he hasn’t pitched 2 full season’s worth over the past 6 years, I don’t see that either. I hope I’m wrong.
An additional bonus with Fisher is that he is a local kid. Reading is practically home for him.
Seems like a win win, especially if Velasquez or Olby do well and can be flipped.
If Velasquez does well he’ll be held onto. But yeah I agree it’s a win win.
Why would the Phillies flip these guys when they have years of control yet? Giles was a luxury, these guys will be a part of the future (hopefully).
Both of their ceilings is MoR if they are pitching well I think the Phils would be wise to trade them at peak value. I’m an Astros fan and that’d what the three known pieces are in my eyes.
This looks like a great deal for the Phillies. Still, Houston did get 4 years of Giles, with a couple of years at the league minimum. I like what Philly has done in the last few months
Actually it’s 5 years. Through 2020.
Prospects man, prospects. They come they go.
When luhnow gives up on prospects you know whats up! :p i like this deal! The Astros needed a closer asap.
The Phillies made out incredibly well here
2012 the Phillies we had Victorino and Pence
2013 we had Hamels and Lee
2014 we had Hamels, Lee, Utley, Byrd and Papelbon
2015 we had Byrd, Papelbon, Hamels, Utley, Rollins, Revere and Giles
Who are Phillies fans going to make fantasy trade proposals about this year? J Hellickson? ew
Fisher being included in this trade makes this look awesome for the Phillies!
It does look awesome, plus theres a fourth guy. If hes anything of significance, that would be a huge win-win by both sides. Its a win-win either way,
kudos to the Phils, these are the moves you need to be making
I would try to steal Tyler White. #30 prospect but from what I hear, he will be the gun for Houston.
Other Prosoect coming from Astros.
Who is the 4th!?!?
Seems a ton to give up, but a hard thrower is a need and he’s locked up for a long time. At least we didn’t give up McCullers.
Hate to see Fisher go, Eventually he’s going to be a solid contact bat in the bigs.
looks like a fair trade for both sides…..I hate to see 100 miles giles go he just turned 25 and is lights out with 5 years control let….looks like a fair trade for both sides though
The price for a dominant closer is really, really high. I see why Cashman is at least fielding offers for Miller.
I’m not sure if I would like this deal for the Astros. If Velasquez becomes a front of rotation SP then you’ve effectively traded 6 years of his service for 4 years of a closer. Add to the fact that last year was kind of a “flukey” year for the Astros and maybe this was a bit presumptive for them to make a move like this. Maybe they feel they have a brief window of opportunity with the Rangers and Angels not really separating themselves from the pack?
Wow. No offense to Giles, but the Astros majorly over paid on this one. I feel like they could have gotten Fernandez with a package centered around Velasquez, Appel, and fisher, (albeit a fair amount more would have been needed). Meanwhile the Phillies all of a sudden have one of the best farm systems in baseball now, expecting to see a rotation with Nola, Appel, Velasquez, and Jake Thompson at some point this year.
Yeah, Nola, Appel and Velasquez could make for a very good 1-2-3 in a few years. About the time when the free agency market will be ripe for big spenders like the Phillies.
The Phillies are doing a nice job of rebuilding.
Appel was a dud. one of those picks you REGRET getting and are so ashamed of you trade him away. All astros needed was a good closer.
Yes, Appel has struggled. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have value, He finished the year a lot better than he started. also, because he was a good college pitcher, he is a pretty polished prospect, and is still close to big league ready. Wait until he’s actually set foot in the big league before you call him a “dud” or a bust
So maybe Appel isn’t Kershaw, but sometimes these guys end up way more valuable than they seem. Check out Wade Davis 3 years as a starter (never had an ERA under 4 and WHIP over 1.3) in comparison to his 3 years as a reliever (under 2.50 ERA).
So the Phillies get two possible pieces of their future rotation in Velasquez and Appel for a very good reliever? Wow, that’s a good trade for them!
The Phils robbed the Astros, this is beautiful deal for Philly!
The Phillies pick up 3 young SPs in this deal… Wow
Jonathan Arauz is actually a really good young SS prospect, he’s not just some throw-in. I don’t like seeing him included in the deal, but still like this deal for both sides. Astros get a young, top tier closer with 6 years of control and the Phillies continue to add pitching depth to their system.
Idk if I like arauz being part of it but I guess that tells us they are gonna be all on with Crawford, and if he doesn’t I’ll be devastated. But snagging Velasquez and Appel are great adds and if Crawford pans out then this deal is a great one for philly, even if oberholtzer and Velasquez turn in to shut down relievers.
I don’t like losing Arauz either but he’s so far away anyway that they could draft another young SS or sign another young international SS that would be on the same track this summer. He’s got a ton of upside, but is far enough away that he can be replaced. I’d rather he not have been included, but I like the return.
If he doesn’t pan out ***
Just Another Fan
Five players traded for a relief pitcher, what a time to be alive.
Just Another Fan
Oops, missed the part about Arauz – wish I could edit my posts but this new format doesn’t allow it.
Grammar error — should be “Astros’ second best prospect” not “Astro’s second best prospect”.
The nats and mets are in the midst of clearing out their farms with promotions and here come the braves and Phillies looking to duke it out in a few years.
Oh yeah and the Marlins are somewhere.
Mets pitching in the minors is much thinner but a slew of position players is on the way. Amed Rosario, Dilson Herrera, Dominic smith, nimmo, bacerra. Oh and if Murphy signs elsewhere mets will get an extra pick barring them signing a big time free agent. 2 picks in first 30 not bad. Also if mets sign cespedes they don’t have to use a pick.
Just Another Fan
Its funny that in all of their title seasons the Giants were mocked because they basically only had one elite position player and one elite pitcher. The Marlins have one elite position player and one elite pitcher, they have about the same chance of winning a title as the Giants did in those previous years.
The Giants are fundamentaly sound
and have decent guys through out their line up.
would love to find out what happened with Fisher; heard great things about J. Arauz this year but oh well.
now, do the Phils have a coach who can bring the best out of Appel?
if not, it’s still a deal where the Phils got a lot of parts they can use, while the Astros gave up parts that werent critical to their future success to get a closer who will be.
my guess is the Phillies took Goddell in the rule 5 draft, picking him over Fisher. Fisher’s numbers come out of a hitters friendly league, so the numbers are inflated by most experts opinions. I can seee that. Maybe they went back tot the table after the rule 5,. If not, ehhh phillies get a #1 draft pick for an out of nowhere closer. Appel could turn it around. I hope he’s not a headcase like Jesse Biddle is.
like the trade for both teams. Appel looks like a bust so keeping Fisher and getting Arauz is a big coup for the ‘Stros. But regardless, Phillies should feel good.
This is the second trade in a week involving a No. 1 – 1 Draft Pick.. The D’backs took major heat and ridicule for including Dansby Swanson in the trade for Shelby Miller. This trade sheds some light on the value placed on prospects, and particularly on No. 1 – 1 Draft Pick prospects. Everybody assumes that 1 – 1 prospects are future superstars. But this trade of Appel once again proves that assumption is flawed. A 1 – 1 is not a 1 – 1 is not a 1 – 1, they are not all the same. Different drafts are rated good, bad, deep, top heavy, etc. in defense of the D’backs, the 2015 draft was considered a weak one, with no superstar at the top. Maybe the Braves didn’t totally fleece the D’backs after all?
D’Backs got fleeced because Inciarate might have more value than Miller alone.
Appel hasn’t produced and he could really benefit from a change of team.
While you have a point there, I think the argument is more that they could’ve got a much better player than Shelby Miller for that package. Two years ago if the Astros traded Appel, they would’ve been crucified.
Maybe Swanson doesn’t pan out and the trade looks Okay for Arizonr then. But as of right now, it looks like a steal for Braves.
Appel’s numbers in the minors don’t impress.
Although he could drastically change.
Not a control guy or a high strike out guy.
He seems to be a 3-4 starter at best.
They probably saw him enough to give him up.
Swanson on the other hand hasn’t seen any pro action yet.
The fans probably wanted to see him play a bit.
Can’t blame the Arizona fans for being upset as well.
Towers traded away Upton / Cook / Parker / Bauer for nothing
They traded away 32 war to get 13 back during his reign.
Don’t forget Adam Eaton.
Why is everyone convinced that Appel is a bust? He hasn’t even had a chance to prove himself in the majors and everyone is already writing him off. He is still a top 100 prospect. There have been guys in the past that outperformed their minor league numbers once they reached the big leagues. Getting a guy with the talent of Appel along with everything else for nothing but a reliever is just silly good.
I know right. They should go on baseball reference and see Ken Giles minor league numbers lmao not as bad as Appels but they aren’t good either.
Because he has done NOTHING since getting drafted first overall
He was drafted first overall 2 years ago not 6 years ago. This is not the NBA, 1st overall picks are not going to help you immediately.
That wasn’t the point, he’s hardly impressed in the minors also. Stuff is reportedly still pretty good, but mediocre results thus far, I know he’s in the PCL, but even the K/BB numbers don’t point to anything special
I never said they would. But Mark Appel has done nothing in the minors since being drafted. If some guy drafted in the 10th round were to post the exact same results as Appel over the last 2 and a half years they would be seen as a non-prospect.
Well obviously people in the know disagree with you because he is still the #43 prospect in the entire minor leagues. And a guy in the 10th round wouldn’t be rushed like Appel was either.
He is only ranked that high because he was drafted first overall. It takes a while to slide down the prospect boards after being taken that high.
I wonder what Jeurys Familia’s return would be in this market?
I still can’t believe even before the accusations, why the bumbling reds couldn’t get more for aroldis Chapman.
I guess When the rest of the national league thinks you’re a bunch of bumbling idiots, you get the middle finger. Why the reds won’t get a fresh body to gm, is beyond me. This Dick Williams guy is nothing but a pawn.
Chapman would bring a kings ransom if he was with any other team.