Since the Astros bullpen blew a 6-2 lead in Game 4 of the ALDS, it’s been widely expected that they were going to make moves to reinforce their relief corps this winter. After a few months of kicking around various options, the team today acquired a potentially dominating new closer.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) December 10, 2015
A fourth player is headed to Phillies in Giles deal.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) December 10, 2015
Giles might not yet have the household name of an elite relief ace, but over the last couple of years, he’s absolutely pitched like one.
Giles’ insanely low home-run rate is unlikely to last, but even with regression there, the strikeout numbers allow him to profile as a high-end closer. He’s not quite Craig Kimbrel, but he’s in that mold, and acquiring Kimbrel-lite isn’t so bad, especially when you are picking up five years of team control, though it should be worth noting that arbitration pays closers handsomely, and so he might not be a significant value for all five of those years if his salaries escalate quickly.
Still, this is a non-rental elite reliever, the kind of guy who can dramatically improve the Astros bullpen, and the type of pitcher who has seen his stock improve dramatically this winter. To land Giles, the team had to give up a valuable pitching prospect in Vincent Velasquez — who could profile better in relief himself, and might end up as a dominating relief ace himself if he can stay healthy — and former first-round pick Derek Fisher, along with a couple of other parts. The trade makes plenty of sense for the Phillies, who don’t need to be stockpiling relievers while they rebuild, but also gives the Astros quite a bit more certainty in 2016.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.