The Ken Giles Trade Changed for the Strange

Yesterday we thought that Ken Giles was going to Houston for Vincent Velasquez, Derek Fisher, Brett Oberholtzer, and Thomas Eshelman.  Now take out Derek Fisher, send Jonathan Arauz to Houston, and now send former #1 overall pick Mark Appel and short season arm Harold Arauz to Philadelphia.  Overall you have a very complicated trade now.  I am going focus on the new players added and removed, and then the deal as a whole.

We don’t know why Derek Fisher is out of the deal, but he was a bit of a weird fit to begin with.  His high upside, high risk outfield profile was very similar to other players within the Phillies organization.

Jonathan Arauz was one of three shortstops the Phillies signed in the summer of 2014 (Arauz was signed for $600,000 out of Panama).  He is very young for his level, having only turned 17 in August.  He is a shortstop now, and there is some debate on whether he can stick there long term, but the fall back is a very good second baseman.  He has an advanced feel for contact from both sides of the plate and the chance to grow into good power.  He is a below average runner, but he has good instincts on the bases.  His tools ceiling is not huge (unlike fellow shortstop Arquimedez Gamboa), but his feel for the game gives him a great future.  He would have been about #20 on my Top 50 this offseason, but would have also topped my list of players most likely to be huge risers during the 2016 season.

Mark Appel comes with the baggage of being the #1 overall pick in the 2013 draft and a large gap between present stuff and present results.  He still throws hard (at times, there has still been a lot of inconsistency) and his slider is still a good pitch as well, the changeup has reportedly gone a bit backwards.  His command and control have wavered, especially the command.  There have long been whispers that he does not care enough on the mound, as well as questions of pitch tipping and feel for pitching, but it is hard to split truth from rumor and speculation.  There is the raw stuff to be a #2 starter, the middling outcome to be a mid rotation arm, and the FB/SL to be a late innings reliever.  Appel has been ultimate change of scenery guy, so a lot of eyes will be on him in a new organization with a new coaching staff.  He will be near the top of Phillies’ prospect lists, and there is some debate on whether he or Jake Thompson is the top pitching prospect in the system.  Either way, both should join a stacked AAA rotation with Velasquez, Zach Eflin, and whoever doesn’t get a major league job.

I know little to nothing on Harold Arauz.  He has decent size, put up a 5.75 ERA in the New York-Penn League at age 20, albeit with a very high BABIP. He apparently can throw in the low 90s so maybe there is something there, but he feels like a flyer here.

The roster casualty is Dan Otero who joins the crew of RH RPs that the Phillies are trying to sneak off the roster.

Overall, this deal is probably better than the original deal, that being said the Astros have been very very good at plucking guys out of the GCL from other orgs, and they got themselves a high upside player here.  This puts more pressure on the Phillies to get something out of Appel, because they did give up a guy who could be a very good piece in a few years.  The Phillies have stockpiled a ton of pitching now, and with Appel and Velasquez they have added real upside to their group.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. csarneson

    Is there such a thing as too many pitching prospects? It feels like we are almost there. We need a second AA team right now. We’re going to not have enough opportunities for all the legit pitching prospects we have this year.

    • Steve

      The hope is that at least one of the AAA SP is ready to move up mid season. Morton, Oberholtz, and even Hellickson are all going to be needed to soak up innings this year, but ultimately, they are all expendable as well. As soon as guys from the Thompson, Appel, Velazquez, Eflin group are ready they will be given a chance the current MLB placeholder will be pit on the trading block provided they pitch well enough to merit interest from other clubs.

    • No, there is a lot of attrition, even in quality minor league pitchers at the top of the system. What we need are six-man rotations, from Philly to Reading. There are guys like Velasquez and Morgan who need to have their IP limited.

  2. philabaltfan

    The results from this trade look very good but I still don’t like Jonathan Arauz was traded away and could be a future star. Mark Appel is a big question mark as Houston has very good pitching coaching according to Baseball America and they could not get him to perform well.

    • Ignoring the ‘other’ Arauz we received from Houston, would you really not trade Arauz and Fisher for Appel. I would jump at the chance. Before it actually happened, I would have put this in the category of extreme wishful thinking, the sort of trades invented by the homiest of message board posters. I think very highly of the Arauz we traded and saw Fisher as interesting, but pass on a chance to get Appel? No way.

  3. Murray

    The hardest thing to acquire is a possible 1/2 starting pitcher. Guys without risks don’t get traded. Appel is a risk certainly but he has 1/2 upside and is a good gamble.