Only two members of the 2017 Houston Astros team which won the World Series and was eventually outed and shamed for cheating had ties to the Phillies.
There was closer Ken Giles, whom the Phillies traded to Houston in December 2015 for a package including Vince Velasquez. And there was Charlie Morton, a frustrating example of the Phillies' inability to strike gold with a low-cost veteran. Morton made just four starts with the Phils in 2016 before tearing his hamstring and then finding immense success with the Astros and Rays over the next three years.
While Morton's run with Houston was incredible (29-10, 3.36 ERA in 55 starts), Giles' was up and down. He had a 2.30 ERA with 34 saves in the regular season for the 2017 Astros but struggled mightily in the playoffs, allowing 10 runs in 7⅔ with a blown save and two losses.
Giles, a Toronto Blue Jay since a midseason trade from Houston in 2018, is in the news this week because of how he responded to a question about the Astros' deceitful ways.
Asked by the Toronto Star if he would give up his 2017 World Series ring if asked, Giles said, “Whatever they ask, I would oblige. Because what was going on at the time was not OK.”
Giles had a strange run for him in Houston marked by highs and lows. He has certainly benefited from his change of scenery. He posted a 1.87 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 53 innings in 2019 for Toronto, where things have stabilized for the former seventh-round pick of the Phils.
Meanwhile, Velasquez has yet to pan out in Philadelphia. That trade, the first big one made by Phillies GM Matt Klentak, was made because a top-notch closer was a luxury on a rebuilding team and Velasquez was perceived to offer more value because he could (theoretically) give a team six innings every fifth day.
That still hasn't happened and this spring may be Velasquez' final opportunity to win a job in the Phillies' rotation.