AP Photo/John Bazemore

Astros acquire young closer Ken Giles from Phillies for four players


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.

Nationals sign George Kontos to minors deal

George Kontos
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The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.

Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.

Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.