Roberto Osuna Traded to Astros from Blue Jays for Ken Giles, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna works against the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 6, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. Toronto won 8-5. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays announced they had traded closer Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros in exchange for veteran reliever Ken Giles and minor league pitchers Hector Perez and David Paulino on Monday.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported the deal. Ryan Fagan of Sporting News shared comments from Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow on the trade:

Ryan Fagan @ryanfagan

Jeff Luhnow on trading for Roberto Osuna ... https://t.co/VDmCGNmsnA

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported earlier in the day the Blue Jays were experiencing trouble attempting to trade Osuna, with his 75-game suspension a hurdle in negotiations. The suspension will end Sunday.

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported Osuna was one of many Blue Jays players on the block ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline:

Jerry Crasnick @jcrasnick

The #BlueJays deadline trade conversations are focused on Roberto Osuna, Aaron Loup, Tyler Clippard, John Axford and Curtis Granderson. They're all in play. Josh Donaldson is working out in Dunedin and expected back in August. Deal could be revisited next month.

Osuna was eligible to start his rehab assignment July 14 and has since pitched six innings for Toronto's Rookie League, High-A and Triple-A affiliates. During that time, he hasn't allowed a run and struck out seven batters.

The 23-year-old right-hander had posted a 2.93 ERA with nine saves in 15 appearances for the Blue Jays this season.

Osuna hasn't appeared on the mound for the Jays since their 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on May 6. Two days later, authorities in Toronto arrested him and charged him with assault. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, and his next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

When he's eligible to pitch again, Osuna will join what is already one of the best bullpens in baseball. Astros relievers are collectively first in FIP (3.07), second in strikeouts per nine innings (10.86) and fifth in WAR (4.8), per FanGraphs.

With Giles leaving, Osuna could potentially become Houston's regular closer, though Hector Rondon has also thrived in the role.

Giles is a solid return for Toronto, and The Athletic's Eno Sarris argued the Blue Jays' rationale for the trade:

Eno Sarris @enosarris

Something really weird happened to Ken Giles’ slider this year. It’s obvious why Toronto is doing this: find the slider again, get a top 15 reliever in K-BB since 2015. The Astros side... https://t.co/G0loYsbti9

Through 34 appearances, Giles' 4.99 ERA is on pace to be a career high. However, his 2.28 FIP is a much better indicator as to his performance in 2018, per FanGraphs. Ten of his 17 earned runs came over three games as well, which skew his ERA.

Giles should benefit from a change of scenery. The Astros optioned him to their Triple-A affiliate earlier this month after he appeared to say, "F--k you, man," to manager A.J. Hinch following his exit from the team's 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics on July 10.

That proved to be Giles' final appearance for the Astros.

Even if the Blue Jays aren't any closer to playoff contention over the next few years, they could potentially flip Giles if he can rediscover his old self. He's under team control for two more seasons, which gives Toronto some flexibility regarding his long-term future with the franchise.


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