Ken Giles has thrown just 115 2/3 innings in the Major Leagues, but it's hard to argue that the 25-year-old hasn't made a major impact already.
After the Phillies traded Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals last summer, Giles quickly became the team's new closer. Now, the Phillies have decided, that, well, they might not really need a high-end closer in 2016 for a team that at best will probably win 70 games.
On Wednesday afternoon, it became apparent that the Phillies were serious about moving Giles, as a clear frontrunner emerged from the pack: The Houston Astros.
And while it's not some sort of major surprise that the Phillies are shopping Giles, it's certainly something that signifies a new line of thinking in the front office. The Phillies have certainly been criticized over the years for becoming too loyal to players, sticking with guys too long, and letting things play out in a manner not conducive to winning baseball games.
In trading Giles at what may be the peak of his value, President Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak would not be showing that "typical" Phillies loyalty you hear about, and instead a desire to trade a young, homegrown talent for a valuable package in return.
And sure, Giles' numbers last season weren't as ri-gosh-darn-didiculous as they were in 2014, but he's probably going to be an elite closer in Major League Baseball for at least the next half-decade, maybe more.
That doesn't mean he'll be performing in Philadelphia.
Jayson Stark reported Wednesday afternoon that the Phillies may be moving towards a deal with the Astros. Names have been discussed:
Source says Astros & Phillies have talked about a package for Ken Giles that would center around Vincent Velazquez, plus 2 more prospects— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 9, 2015
Velasquez is reportedly in high demand. The Yankees have shown interest in the right-hander as they try to add a young pitcher to their rotation, but Giles may be better than anything New York can offer in a trade. (The link in the previous sentence also has a nice wrap-up of Velasquez's season if you are curious.)
Velasquez is a highly thought of talent in the Astros' organization. Kiley McDaniel has a solid writeup of Velasquez pre-2015 here, willing to put him just below Carlos Correa and Mark Appel in the Astros' system following 2014. Plenty of prospect lists would likely have Velasquez in the Astros' top three for 2016 if he hadn't passed the innings limit for these sorts of lists, which he did late in the season.
Klentak's signing of David Hernandez could also mean the Phillies are looking for help in the back end of the bullpen to prepare for a Giles trade, as Jim Salisbury reported:
Klentak had no comment on Giles talks but said was looking for reliever to help late innings thus Hernandez. It all fits.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) December 9, 2015
As this is a rapidly developing story, we'll have more as it develops.
Hearing Phillies would get 3 pitchers led by Velasquez if Giles to Houston deal gets done.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) December 9, 2015