How was your week

Posted: July 14, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

With 63 wins so far this season the Houston Astros have the second most wins in Major League Baseball trailing only the Boston Red Sox who have 66 wins. The Astros are currently in 1st place in the American League West 4 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners. Houston looks like a serious threat to win back to back World Series, but they seem to have one glaring weakness.

After back to back relief appearances where he had given up a run the Astros sent their closer Ken Giles to Triple-A. Giles was 12 for 12 in save opportunities, but had an 0-2 record with an ERA of 4.99 in 34 games this season. On July 10th Giles came into a game against the Oakland A’s with a 4 run lead. He threw just 8 pitches and was charged with 3 earned runs as the A’s managed to comeback and beat the Astros 6-5 and while Giles wasn’t involved in the decision he was the pitcher who allowed the A’s to get back into the game. This was Giles last appearance before the Astros sent him to Triple-A.

The Astros acquired Giles in a seven player deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in December of 2015. Houston received Giles and Jonathan Arauz in return for Mark Appel, Harold Arauz, Tom Eshelman, Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez. Appel was one of if not the Astros top pitching prospect at the time of this deal and it was a bit of a surprise that Houston traded him.

While Giles was looked upon as someone who would develop into a top closer even though when he was with the Phillies Giles was mostly used as a set up guy. He did do a little closing for them picking up 15 saves in 2015. Since going to Houston Giles has been up and down. He picked up 15 saves for Houston in 2016, but had an ERA of 4.11 and blew 5 save chances. Last season Giles converted 34 of 38 saves chances and posted an ERA of 2.30, but he had some struggles in the post season. Giles appeared in 7 post season games; he was 0-2 with an ERA of 11.74 over 7 2/3rd innings. Giles did convert 2 of his 3 post season save chances, but once wasn’t used in a save situation during the World Series.

With the pitcher they thought was going to be their closer now in Triple-A; who will the Astros use to close out games? Hector Rondon has closing experience and it looks as though he may be the guy at the end of games for the Astros right now. Rondon is 1-2 on the season with an ERA of 1.57. Rondon has convert 8 of his 11 saves chances this season. Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock also have 2 saves this season. Devenski has blown 3 save chances this season while Peacock has 3 blown saves.

If those are the Astros three choices to close games. Do you see them staying with this bullpen set up? Or will the be active in the trade market?

I’m sure the first name that is going to come up is Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles as it seems as though Britton and Manny Machado are going to ever team. Britton is coming back from an injury plagued 2017 and hasn’t been throw into the full time closer role yet in Baltimore. Britton has 2 saves in 3 chances and is 1-0 with an ERA of 4.26. While Britton’s name comes up quite a bit in trade talk he’s not the only one that could be dealt.

Th other name you heard a lot not only this season, but last season as well is Brad Hand of the San Diego Padres. It’s always been thought that Hand would be traded to a contender and used as a set up guy, but he’s the Padres closer. Hand has converted 24 of 29 saves and is 2-4 with an ERA of 3.05 this season. Hand has a very friendly team contract and the Padres have resisted moving him, but I’m sure if the right offer came along they’d have to consider it.

The New York Mets have made it clear that they’re willing to trade anyone; so maybe Jeurys Familia could be a target for the Astros. He had a couple of years as a dominant closer, but after a difficult 2017 season he’s had a difficult time returning to being dominant. He’s appeared on 39 games for the Mets this season and has an ERA of 2.95 while converting 16 of his 20 sav attempts. Familia will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Another name that has popped up here and there is Raisel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds. Iglesias is 28 years old and won’t hit the free agent market until after the 2021 season; so any team that acquired him would have him under control for three more seasons. Iglesias has converted 19 of his 22 saves chances this season. He’s 1-1 with a 2.41 ERA. Interestingly there are teams that would like to turn Iglesias into a starter after this season. He has made 21 career starts, but hasn’t been a regular starting pitcher since his 2015 his rookie season.

I haven’t heard a lot of talk about this closer, but with the Pittsburgh Pirates 5 games under .500 you have to wonder if they’ll listen to offers for Felipe Vazquez. He’s converted 21 of his 25 save chances this season and is 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA. This is Vazquez first season as a full time closer. He’s signed through the 2021 season, but has two option years on his contract; so any team that dealt for him could keep him until 2023 if they choose to.

Those are some of the top closers out there that could possibly be traded. There have been some other names mentioned. Kyle Barraclough of the Miami Marlins has been mentioned, but it would probably be a situation where he’d be acquired to fill a set up role. Barraclough has just recently started closing games or Miami. The Marlins do have 38 year old Brad Ziegler who has quite a bit of closing experience, but like I mentioned recently was taken out of the closers role for the Marlins. I’m sure the White Sox would move veteran closer Joakim Soria. He just resumed closing games for the White Sox as he was taken out of the closers role for a short period of time. but has converted 14 of his 17 save chances. Shane Greene is just returning from the disabled list, but had converted 19 of his 22 saves chances before going on the disabled list. With the Detroit Tigers in rebuild mode I’m sure they’d listen to offer for him.

Now it’s not only the Astros that are looking for a closer as the Phillies are also front and center in pursuit of one. Philadelphia has been linked to Britton as well as Machado. There was a report this week that the Phillies have “upped” their offer to the Orioles quite a bit to try to acquire not only Britton, but Machado in the same deal.

Which team o you see pulling the trigger first on a closer; the Astros or the Phillies?

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