Phillies should remain cautious in reliever market following Ken Giles deal

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 12: Ken Giles #53 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the eighth inning during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on May 12, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates won 7-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - MAY 12: Ken Giles #53 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the eighth inning during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on May 12, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates won 7-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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A lot can be learned from the Phillies Ken Giles trade

Less than three years ago the Phillies continued their rebuild by trading closer Ken Giles, an electric righty with velocity and tenacity that were off the charts. A 63-win team didn’t need a reliever the caliber of Giles, so pulling a seven-player deal with the Houston Astros, a team on the cusp of a championship, made sense for both sides.

The Phillies sent Giles and prospect Jonathan Arauz to Houston for former number one pick Mark Appel, starter Brett Oberholtzer, and prospects Vince Velasquez, Harold Arauz, and Thomas Eshelman.

It felt like a tremendous haul at the time with Appel and Velasquez each having tremendous potential.

While Houston won their World Series in 2017, neither team has truly come out on top of this deal, and it beckons several lessons the Phillies can learn from as they navigate the murky trade waters this summer.

The Phillies thought they’d poked a hole in each chocolate and thought they were about to bite into a cherry covered chocolate, but it turned out to be jelly. That’s basically what Appel was to the team, jelly.

The former number one overall pick retired after two seasons in the Phillies organization with limited success on the mound. A 5.56 ERA in five minor league seasons proved Appel to be one of the biggest busts in modern-day baseball.

Eshelman looked like a solid pickup as a backend starter, but he’s fallen apart coming off a 13-3, 2.40 ERA season. This year with the IronPigs Eshelman has a 6.16 ERA and has just one win in 19 starts.

Arauz is in Reading with a 4.62 ERA in 18 starts, and isn’t considered to be a major prospect.

Oberholtzer was a meer salary dump for Houston, and made just 26 relief appearances for Philly with a 4.83 ERA. He’s no longer in the majors.

Velasquez is the biggest question in the deal, and Phillies fans know his issues with pitch counts higher than his velocity after the fourth inning.

Meanwhile, in Houston, Giles was sent to the minors after cursing out his manager and having a 4.99 ERA in 34 games.

You never know what you’re gonna get.

Second is to not give up the farm for a reliever, as Houston has learned in the Giles deal. Yes, we just went through how you never know what you’re going to get and how most of the players in the deal haven’t turned out.

Houston has a history of turning pitchers careers around, most recently with Charlie Morton and Justin Verlander. Could any of those four prospects turn out differently under certain coaches or organizational philosophies?

Regardless, five players is a lot to give up for a reliever, even a 24-year-old closer with a career 1.56 ERA on a losing team.

Next: Phillies: Power Ranking Players from 2008

That’s the lesson when trying to acquire Brad Hand, Raisel Iglesias, or any other reliever at the trade deadline this year. Cause you never know what you’re gonna get.

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