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Ken Giles wins arbitration case against Astros

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Astros right-hander Ken Giles won his arbitration case against the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Saturday. Giles initially filed at $4.6 million, which was countered by a $4.2 million offer from the team.

Giles, 27, dazzled in his second season with the Astros. He racked up 34 saves, good for fifth-most in the league, and sported a 2.30 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 through 62 2/3 innings in the regular season. The postseason was a different story altogether. The right-hander imploded in three of seven playoff appearances and lost his status as the team’s closer halfway through the World Series with a brutal Game 4 loss and an unsightly 11.74 ERA. That said, Giles’ postseason snafu isn’t expected to have much bearing on his future with the team in 2018, according to comments made by manager AJ Hinch earlier this winter.

The Astros have two more arbitration hearings to resolve before Opening Day. Outfielder George Springer filed at $10.5 million, countered by $8.5 million from the team, while right-hander Collin McHugh seeks $5 million against the $4.55 million the Astros are willing to pony up. So far this winter, five players have won arbitration cases against their respective teams, including Giles, Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria ($5.9 million), Marlins first baseman Justin Bour ($3.4 million), Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts ($10.5 million), and Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller ($4.9 million). Two have lost: Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna ($5.3 million) and Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto ($2.9 million).

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.