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Astros acquire young closer Ken Giles from Phillies for four players

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Big get here for last year’s American League Wild Card Game winners …

According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, the Astros have acquired young closer Ken Giles from the Phillies for pitchers Vince Velasquez and Brett Oberholtzer, outfield prospect Derek Fisher, and one additional player.

Giles, 25, boasts a 1.56 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 151/36 K/BB ratio through his first 115 2/3 innings at the major league level. He won’t hit arbitration until 2018 and can’t become a free agent until after the 2020 campaign.

The right-hander can provide a long-term answer at the back of the Houston bullpen.

Velasquez made his major league debut in 2015 and was somewhat of a disappointment, but the 23-year-old right-hander entered the summer as a top-100 prospect and put up very enticing numbers at Double-A. Oberholtzer is a 26-year-old left-handed starter with a so-so track record at the major league level. Fisher was a supplemental first-round pick in 2014 with superb power and speed numbers at the lower levels of the minor leagues. When that fourth player is revealed, we’ll pass it along.

It’s a pretty nice haul for the rebuilding Phillies.

Yuli Gurriel takes pay cut to $7M to stay with Astros

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HOUSTON (AP) First baseman Yuli Gurriel and the Houston Astros have agreed to a one-year contract with an option for 2022 that guarantees $7 million, a cut of nearly 20% from his 2020 deal.

The agreement was announced hours before the defending AL champions started their first-round playoff matchup against at Minnesota on Tuesday, an odd time to reach a contract for a future season.

Gurriel’s 2020 contract called for an $8.3 million salary and wound up being worth $3,074,074 prorated.

His new deal includes a $6.5 million salary for 2021 and an $8 million club option for 2021 with a $500,000 buyout. Gurriel can earn $2 million in performance bonuses each year based on plate appearances: $250,000 each for 300 and 350 $350,000 apiece for 400 and 450 and $400,000 each for 500 and 550.

He also would get $50,000 for becoming an All-Star, $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $100,000 for Word Series MVP, $200,000 for league MVP, $100,000 for second and $50,000 for third. There is a $50,000 bonus for Gold Glove and another $50,000 for Silver slugger.

Gurriel would have been eligible for free agency under a provision in his 2020 contract, even though he does not have the six years of major league service usually required. His new deal includes the same provision.

He hit .232 with six homers, 12 and 22 RBIs in 57 games during the pandemic-shortened season, down from a career-best .298 with 31 homers and 104 RBIs in 2019. He helped Houston reach the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

In five seasons in Houston that followed a stellar career in Cuba, the 36-year-old has hit .287 with 71 homers and 301 RBIs.