Astros identified a weakness, and solved it
The 8th inning of Game 4 in the ALDS may have been the impetus but the Astros have made a big move to strengthen their bullpen. After re-signing Tony Sipp this week, they now have one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. The bullpen can be pointed out as the cause of their downfall as this team was six outs away from the ALCS. Luke Gregerson was not the main cause of that particular loss, and he is coming off a great season – his first as a closer. With this move, presumably Giles will become the closer and Gregerson will move to being his setup man. All other roles will then shift down creating a much stronger entity. The depth can not be ignored either; an injury would not appear to be catastrophic.
Phillies are pushing the plan down the road
The Phillies may be taking notes from the basketball team that they share city limits with. With Giles under team control of five seasons, the move may scratch some heads but the truth is – Giles is a relief pitcher, not a shortstop that you can build your team around. There is one last year of Ryan Howard on the payroll and Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are in LA. There is currently a light at the end of the tunnel. After the Cole Hamels trade and now this trade, the farm system is building back up. The Phillies may believe that their window won’t be opening until around the latter end of five years, but they also are aware of the poor history of young closers being able to keep up a good start through a long career.
The closer market is bare
The free agent market for top of the line closers was bare to begin with but now the trade market may be empty as well (regardless of what happens in the Chapman situation, he won’t be a wanted commodity at this point). Jake McGee is now the biggest trade chip for teams still looking to improve their depth on a guy with closing experience. The Yankees have also at least discussed moving Andrew Miller. With this trade and the Kimbrel trade, it’s clear that teams have noticed what the Royals did and are trying to mimic it. The Cubs and Giants both may still be in the market for improving the back end of their bullpen.