The Houston Astros raised some eyebrows when they traded five players to the Philadelphia Phillies for Ken Giles and 17-year-old infield prospect this winter.
One of the players sent to Philadelphia was Mark Appel, who they once took with the first overall pick in 2013.
"I didn't feel like I was all that valuable," Giles admitted. "I thought I might be like a 2-for-1, two-high-prospects kind of guy. So I feel honored that I was viewed as that valuable to a team."
Only three Major League relievers have had a sub-2.00 ERA and 10-plus strikeouts per nine innings over their first two seasons: Giles, Takashi Saito and Rob Dibble.
Before landing Giles, the Astros were in on Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Miller, Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger.
"I think that's true on a couple of different levels," A.J. Hinch said when asked if the game has changed. "One is, the value of the last nine outs -- not just the closer but the last nine outs -- has grown across the game. And some of it has to do with the way the Royals have won championships, the way the Giants have won championships. The intensity of those last nine outs has become more valuable.
"And the other idea that I have is, I think it's hard to measure, analytically or emotionally, what a blown opportunity to win a game means. It's not just about one game, as a lot of measures would tell you. Back when the closer role was less valuable in the eyes of some around the game, it was because they were focused on the value of just one loss. In actuality, when you're on a team and you blow leads, the carryover effect can last far longer than just one game."