Roberto Osuna for Ken Giles, One Year Later

Roberto Osuna
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 24: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros pitches in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park on July 24, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

On July 30, 2018, the Toronto Blue Jays decided to trade closer Roberto Osuna for disgruntled reliever Ken GilesAt 23 years old, Osuna was the most important part of the Blue Jays bullpen. As the Blue Jays were a struggling team, Osuna was one of the few bright spots on the roster. Things seemed good, or so we thought. 

Unfortunately, Osuna had an off-field incident with an ex-girlfriend. As such the Blue Jays put Osuna on administrative leave. On June 22, 2018, Roberto Osuna received a 75 game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. 

As a result, many Blue Jays fans accepted that Osuna may never play another game as a Blue Jay again. It was clear that Osuna needed a change of scenery, and the Blue Jays were willing to move the 23-year-old. As the Blue Jays were in a rebuild, they traded him to the contending Houston Astros. 

Revisiting the Roberto Osuna, Ken Giles Trade

Ken Giles before the Trade 

Ken Giles was having a rough couple years with the Houston Astros. While things were looking up for the Astros in 2017, Ken Giles lost his job as the team’s closer. As such 2018 was a frustrating season all around for the right-hander. Giles again lost the closer job in Houston. He became upset with himself and with manager A.J. Hinch. On July 10, 2018, the Houston Astros decided that Giles would be demoted to Triple-A (Fresno). As he needed a new change of scenery, he could expect a trade within the coming days. 

The Trade

Houston Astros Receive 

Roberto Osuna

Toronto Blue Jays Receive

Ken Giles, David PaulinoHector Perez

Roberto Osuna after the Trade 

Osuna’s suspension ended a week later and made his Astros début on August 6. Throughout the rest of the 2018 season, Osuna acquired 12 saves and lowered his ERA from 2.93 when he left Toronto to 2.37. Osuna was also responsible for picking up the save in Game 2 of the ALDS. So far this season, Osuna continues to dominate picking up 23 saves in 27 save opportunities. 

Ken Giles After the Trade

Since joining the Blue Jays, Giles has become one of the most underrated players in baseball. He finished off the 2018 season acquiring 14 saves in just 21 games. Since coming to Toronto nearly one year ago, Giles has only blown one save this year in Boston. Giles seems a lot more comfortable in Toronto than in Houston. 

Although Toronto has not been able to give him that many save opportunities, he remains a force in the Blue Jays bullpen. He manages to lower his ERA in Toronto from 4.99 to 1.54. Had he not missed time due to elbow inflammation, Giles would have been an All-Star in July. 100 Miles Giles proves to the other 29 ball clubs that he can be competitive and useful to any contending teams come the postseason. While it is possible that the Blue Jays could trade him today or tomorrow, the past year has shown the best of Ken Giles. 

Who Won the Trade?

Looking back at this trade one year later, it is safe to say the Blue Jays won this trade. They have been able to take a disgruntled Giles and turn him into a big-league star. On the other hand, the Astros have taken one of the top closers in the game and allowed him to dominate. Frankly, both needed a change of scenery, and so far it has worked out for both. 

For a side note, David Paulino has made some appearances in the Blue Jays bullpen. He is playing in Triple-A this season, but will likely be in Toronto as a September call up. There is a good chance that Paulino can make the Blue Jays bullpen in 2020. As for Hector Perez, he has yet to make the majors, and is now pitching on the Blue Jays’ Double-A team in New Hampshire.

Another intriguing part of this trade is both are still under team control. Giles becomes a free agent in 2021, while Osuna becomes a free agent in 2022. Looking at the pitcher each player is most like, they are most comparable to each other. Because of this trade, they will forever be linked.

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