Phillies deal closer Giles to Astros, sources say

The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to trade closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros for pitchers Vincent Velasquez and Brett Oberholtzer, along with a third significant prospect, according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden and multiple reports.

The deal was first reported by Fox 26 in Houston.

The Astros, who had the lowest average fastball velocity of any bullpen in the majors last season at 91.1 mph, have been talking to a number of teams in an attempt to add a power arm to the back of their bullpen.

Giles’ average fastball velocity of 96.5 mph was the 11th-highest among big league relievers who pitched at least 50 innings last season. Giles threw 193 fastballs at 98 mph or higher; Astros relievers as a group threw eight.

Giles, 25, has also had back-to-back seasons with ERAs under 2.00 and has struck out 151 hitters in 115T major league innings. He became the Phillies’ closer late in the season after the trade of Jonathan Papelbon.

The Phillies see themselves as being several years away from contention, so they’ve been looking to add depth and as many young arms to their system as they can collect.

Asked what the Phillies have been looking for in return for Giles, a baseball executive who has been speaking with them replied: “Pitching. And more pitching.”

The teams initially talked about a package led by right-hander Lance McCullers, sources said, but Houston has been firm about not wanting to trade him. Talk turned toward Velazquez, a 23-year-old right-hander who made 19 big league appearances for the Astros this year and projects as a No. 3 starter, scouts say.

Velazquez was the Astros’ second-round pick in the 2010 draft. He went 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in nine appearances in Double-A this year. ESPN MLB Insider Keith Law ranked him as Houston’s No. 2 pitching prospect and No. 3 prospect overall coming into this season.

Information from ESPN senior writer Jayson Stark and ESPN’s Stats and Information was used in this report.

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