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HOUSTON (AP) — Closer Ken Giles was traded from the Phillies to the Houston Astros as part of a seven-player deal that sent former No. 1 overall draft pick Mark Appel to Philadelphia.
Shortstop Jonathan Arauz also was sent to the Astros, and right-handers Vincent Velasquez, Thomas Eshelman and Harold Arauz went to the Phillies along with left-hander Brett Oberholtzer. The trade was agreed to at the winter meetings and announced Saturday.
"Our primary objective this offseason has been to add quality arms to our bullpen," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement.
"Ken Giles is a premium pitcher who will play an important role by getting critical outs for the Astros for years to come. Arauz is an exciting young shortstop with tools. He adds to our depth of infield position player prospects."
A 25-year-old right-hander, Giles took over as closer after the trade of Jonathan Papelbon to Washington last summer. Giles, who made his big league debut in 2014, went 6-3 with a 1.80 ERA and 15 saves in 20 chances this year, holding batters to a .219 average. His fastball averages 97-98 mph and has reached 100 mph; Giles has 151 strikeouts over 115 2-3 innings in two big league seasons.
Luke Gregerson had 31 saves in 36 chances this year for the Astros, who reached the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
The 24-year-old Appel was the top pick in the 2013 draft, one of three straight No. 1 overall selections by the Astros, who took shortstop Carlos Correa in 2012 and left-hander Brady Aiken in 2012. Correa was this season's AL Rookie of the Year. Aiken failed to sign and needed Tommy John surgery, then was drafted by Cleveland last summer and signed with the Indians.
Appel was 4-1 with a 4.26 ERA this year at Double-A Double A, then went 5-2 with a 4.48 ERA at Triple-A Fresno. He is 16-11 with a 5.12 ERA in 54 minor league games.
Jonathan Arauz hit .254 with 10 doubles and 18 RBIs in the rookie level Gulf Coast League.
Eshelman, a 21-year-old selected on the second round of this year's draft, was 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in four starts the Gulf Coast League Astros and Class A Quad Cities.
Oberholtzer, 26, went 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA in eight starts for Houston this year and was 7-4 with a 3.86 at Triple-A Fresno. He has made 42 starts and three relief appearances for the Astros in the past three seasons.
Velasquez, 23, was 1-1 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts and 12 relief appearances for the Astros this year.
Harold Arauz, 20, was 0-5 with a 5.75 ERA in 10 starts and five relief appearances for Tri-City this year.
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