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Ken Giles trade announced, with 2013 No. 1 pick Mark Appel headed to the Phillies


It was reported on Wednesday that the Astros had acquired hard-throwing reliever Ken Giles from the Phillies for a package of prospects. The deal was officially announced today and it looks a bit different than originally reported…

It was originally expected to a four-for-one deal, with outfield prospect Derek Fisher part of the return package for Philadelphia. However, it’s now a five-for-two deal, with young shortstop Jonathan Arauz also headed to Houston while 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel and right-hander Harold Arauz have replaced Fisher.

This year’s No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Braves in the Shelby Miller deal, so now two of the last three No. 1 picks have been traded in the past week. Appel is going to get most of the attention here, but his road to the majors has been a little bumpier than anticipated. Now 24 years old, he posted a 4.37 ERA and 110/51 K/BB ratio in 131 2/3 innings this past season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno. Vincent Velasquez is still the centerpiece for Philadelphia, but Appel is an intriguing wild card in the deal, at the very least.

And we probably shouldn’t ignore that this trade features a pair of Arauzes. Arauzi? This a big moment in MLB history. The one headed to Houston along with Giles appears to be a legitimate prospect. He signed with Philadelphia last year and batted .254/.309/.370 with two home runs and 18 RBI over 44 games this past season in rookie ball. Ben Badler of Baseball America ranked him No. 20 on his list of Gulf Coast League prospects. The Arauz headed to Philadelphia is a 20-year-old right-hander who had a 5.75 ERA over 10 starts and five relief appearances in Low-A this year, but he has averaged 8.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors.

The Astros are getting another interesting piece back with Giles, but this is still quite an impressive haul for a closer.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.