Ken Giles is off to Houston, where he'll fight to become the Astros closer in spring training. He leaves the Phillies after recording 16 saves and going 9-4 with a 1.56 ERA in 113 relief appearances over two seasons.
Initially, it was thought that the Phillies would be getting four prospects for Giles, but the trade was reconstructed and the Phillies will now get five prospects and will also include minor league infielder Jonathan Arauz, who heads to Houston along with Giles. The Phillies will get right-handers Vincent Velasquez and Thomas Eshelman and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, who were all in the original deal for Giles. Outfielder Derek Fisher, who was in the original deal, was pulled from the package of prospects in favor of right-handers Mark Appel and Harold Arauz.
Velasquez was a major part of the deal from the Phillies perspective. The 23-year old made his major league debut this past season, making five starts and two relief appearances with Houston, posting a 1-1 record with a 4.37 ERA. Oberholtzer, 26, graduated from William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware and has pitched over parts of three seasons with the Astros and has a career ERA of 3.94 in 42 starts and three relief appearances. The only left-hander in the deal, Oberholtzer is out of options, making him a likely fit for the Phillies rotation out of spring training.
The 21-year old Eshelman was drafted by Houston in the second round of the 2015 Draft out of Cal State Fullerton. Pitching at both the rookie and Low-A levels, Eshelman made four starts and finished his first season with an ERA of 4.35 between the two levels.
Arauz pitched in the Dominican Summer League for two seasons prior to coming to the United States in 2014. In his first two seasons in the U.S. he's pitched in short-season leagues and is 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 games, 17 of which have been starts. Arauz, 20, was initially signed as an international free agent out of Panama.
The surprise addition is Appel, who was initially drafted by Detroit in the 15th round of the 2009 Draft out of Monte Vista High School in California. He elected to attend college and was next taken by Pittsburgh in the first round - eighth overall pick - of the 2012 Draft, but again, did not sign. The following June, the Astros made him the first overall pick in the draft, but he has battled injuries throughout his minor league career and hasn't posted the types of numbers that the Astros had hoped to see from him. The 24-year old finally reached Triple-A Fresno last season and went 5-2 with a 4.48 ERA. In his minor league career, Appel has a career ERA of 5.12 in 54 games, 53 of which have been starts.
To make the deal happen, the Phillies included minor leaguer Jonathan Arauz in the deal. The 17-year old made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League last summer, playing both second and short and hitting .254/.309/.370 with the GCL Phillies.