Rumors involving the Philadelphia Phillies are running rampant as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline is now less than a week away.
Well, there was a social media doozy that came out of left field yesterday from a respected insider involving the Phillies and one of their top young starting pitchers, Vincent Velasquez. Seriously, who saw this type of rumor coming?
When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense for several reasons.
First, the Phillies probably aren’t going to the playoffs this year, and even next year looks like a stretch. So they are at least two years away from contending, therefore could still be classified as a “rebuilding” club.
Second, the Rangers are in a dog fight for the division with the white-hot Houston Astros nipping at their heels. They need pitching to go behind Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, and someone like Velasquez would be a solid addition to the rotation.
Finally, Velasquez has five years of team control left on his contract and wouldn’t be just a summer rental. He’s a highly effective pitcher (as evidenced by his 16 strikeout performance earlier this year) who seems to still have a lot of room to still grow, potentially into a staff ace if his control comes around.
That leaves two questions to ask:
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- Would the Phillies do it?
- Should the Phillies do it?
The answers to these two questions are linked in every way possible. As general manager, it behooves Matt Klentak to at least gauge the value of his prized young asset, especially in a starting pitching market as bereft of young, controllable arms such as Velasquez.
One usually hears a GM say that “we listen on all our players“, but it’s fairly obvious that sometimes, certain players are more difficult to get. Klentak is probably listening on all kinds of players, but if he puts too high a price tag on someone, those conversations end quickly.
But would they do it in the right deal? Sure.
That leaves the second question, should they do it?
Probably not. The organization has taken great pains to acquire as many arms as possible in its latest trades, focusing solely on this area when they decided to trade a young, controllable asset in Ken Giles, as a prime example
To trade Velasquez now would derail that plan somewhat. Sure, there are players like Jake Thompson and Ben Lively ready to step in, but do either have the ceiling that Velasquez does? I don’t believe they do.
Velasquez has the ability to dominate that perhaps no one in the system, save Aaron Nola, currently has. Sure, someone like Franklyn Kilome has the stuff to do so, but he is extremely far away and won’t be apart of the approaching playoff caliber roster that is taking shape now.
Velasquez, should he remain healthy and effective, could be a Game 1 starter in a playoff series, something that doesn’t come cheaply in trades.
In all likelihood, I’d have to agree with Corinne Landrey of Crashburn Alley on this one: it’s more than likely that any Phillies trade made before August 1st will not involve Vincent Velasquez.
Should Texas offer up someone such as stud outfielder Nomar Mazara as part of a package, then the equation might change. Mazara, who the Phillies sought as part of the Hamels deal, has the talent to be a top-flight outfielder, something the Phillies desperately need.
However, since he is part of the Texas roster that is fighting for that playoff spot right now, it seems highly unlikely he would be part of the package. Without his name included in the deal, it may ultimately be smarter for the Phillies to walk away from any trade offer, no matter how tempting it might be.