So all the Ken Giles trade talk you've heard lately was LIES LIES LIES. This is how the deal now stacks up:
Phillies give up:
- Ken Giles
- Jonathan Arauz (Shortstop, really young. "Panama's best young player" in 2014.)
Astros give up:
- Vincent Velasquez (covered previously)
- Mark Appel (former 1/1 pick by Astros, but hasn't really done much in MiLB to justify that lofty pick)
- Thomas Eshelman (covered previously)
- Brett Oberholzter (covered previously: Kyle Kendrick clone)
- Harold Arauz (Pitcher, really young. "Panama's best young player" in 2013. Ok, I made that up, but this is eerily similar to the Jonathan Arauz signing note.
So, in summary, Fisher out, Appel in, and the Arauz for Arauz challenge trade.
My read on the Fisher coverage was that he was a likely 4th outfielder. He would have been the 5th or 6th 4th outfielder that is in the Phillies' system, so he was somewhat superfluous. Swapping him out and putting Appel in? Appel has not lit things up in the minors. He put up an 8.03 K/9 and a 3.69 BB/9 in 68 innings in AAA last year. His AA numbers last year over 63 innings had a slightly lower walk rate (3.27) and a much lower K rate (6.96).
Maybe he's another 4/5 starter, unless the Philles can find and fix something that the Astros couldn't, and who do you trust to develop players better? The Phillies or Astros? Rhetorical question there, no need to answer it in the comments.
In any case, Appel is caught in the middle of a baseball version of Scylla and Charybdis for starting pitchers known as "meh" and "bleh".
Velasquez is someone many feel is slated for the pen if he can't hang as a starter. Oberholtzer is Kendrick. Eshelman is a "solid, high-floor control guy" drafted with the Astros second pick in 2015. Maybe a 4/5 starter? Harold Arauz is just as far off as Jonathan Arauz was, but I know many were interested by Jonathan Arauz' ceiling in the infield. I know little about Harold Arauz, other than "more pitching".
The Phillies will have beaucoup pitching at all levels of the minors next year. This trade was, for the Astros, something that the Phillies will need to start doing in future years as they start to have prospects filter up, flame out, and otherwise develop.
The Astros are concentrating their talent by taking several ok chips and trading them up for fewer, but better, chips. They need to do this. The Phillies can afford to take more lower quality (but decent odds) chips in exchange for their few chips that are higher end. The Phillies have the roster space and the slots in MiLB to allow it.
This can be an even deal if the odds of payoff are about the same on both sides. I've heard some people opine, rightly or wrongly, that Giles may have only so many bullets in the gun. Many of us worried about that last spring. If it turns out that he flames out, this deal will look pretty good for the Phillies if they can capture an average to above-average major leaguer out of it.
If Giles is durable and Jonathan Arauz turns out to be a middle infielder like Ryne Sandberg, well, at least we're used to that sort of thing around here. Though Jonathan Arauz is far, far, FAAAAR more raw than Sandberg was. Not an apples to apples there folks, just nihilistic Phillies trade talk.