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).
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.