Giles trade official: Appel, Velasquez part of Astros trade

- Mark Appel and Vince Velasquez are part of the package the Astros are sending to the Phillies in exchange for closer Ken Giles.

The deal was made official on Saturday. Houston receives Giles and shortstop prospect Jonathan Arauz. In return, the Astros are giving up Appel, Velasquez, pitcher Brett Oberholtzer, pitcher Thomas Eshelman, and pitcher Harold Arauz.

The 25-year-old Giles finished 2015 as the Phillies' closer. He wound up with a 6-3 record, 15 saves, and a 1.80 ERA in 69 games last season. In 70 innings, Giles struck out 87 while allowing just two home runs and a .219 batting average.

In his last two years, Giles has a 1.56 ERA, ranking third among MLB relievers behind only the Royals' Wade Davis and the Yankees' Dellin Betances.

"What they had to do to come up with me, they're not going to be disappointed," Giles told FOX 26. "The way I am, I'll give out everything I can and beyond to do what I can for my teammates and for the city who I play for. I'm not going to let anybody down. I try the best I can to accomplish everybody's expectations."

The Astros did give up several top prospects to make this trade happen. Appel was the number-one pick overall in 2013. The 24-year-old split last season with Double-A (4-1, 4.26 ERA) and Triple-A (5-2, 4.48 ERA). At the time of the trade, Appel was ranked by as being the Astros' second-best prospect.

Last year, Velasquez graduated from prospect to professional, making the leap up from Double-A, where he had a 4-1 record with a 1.91 ERA. In Houston, Velasquez had a 1-1 record and a 4.37 ERA in 19 games, seven of them being starts.

Oberholtzer is the veteran of the group. The lefthander had a 2.76 ERA in 13 games, including 10 starts, in 2013. That, however, was followed by a 4.39 ERA in 2014 and then a 4.46 ERA last year. Oberholtzer bounced around between Triple-A and Houston last season.

Last year was Eshelman's first as a professional after the Astros drafted the pitcher in the second round out of Cal-State Fullerton. The 21-year-old posted an 0-1 record with a 4.26 ERA in four starts between the Gulf Coast League Astros and the Quad Cities affiliate.

Harold Arauz is a 20-year-old pitcher who had a 0-5 record and 5.75 ERA in 15 appearances for Tri-City. He heads to the Phillies organization now, as the Astros get Jonathan Arauz, a 17-year-old shortstop who hit .254 in 44 games at the Gulf Coast League level. This was Arauz's first professional season. According to, he was ranked the Phillies' fifth-best infield prospect.

"We did give up a lot of value, a lot of good arms that are going to pitch in the big leagues," Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told FOX 26 on Saturday. "But what we need right now, at this stage in our curve, ready to take the next step in the playoffs, we needed another arm like Ken Giles in the back end of our bullpen.

"(Giles is) young," Luhnow added. "He's going to be around for awhile. This was not a rental. He is going to be an Astro for many years."

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