Phillies in Deep Trade Talks Regarding Vince Velasquez
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
Earlier this week news began to trickle out regarding the Texas Rangers deep love of Phillies flamethrower Vincent Velasquez. Many shook off the rumors as typical trade deadline banter, but it appears the rumors may be more than just that.
According to CSN Philly writer Jim Salisbury, sources familiar with the situation say the Phillies and Texas Rangers are in “pretty deep” trade discussions.
Velasquez was asked after his start Friday if he knew about the rumors, and if they were weighing on his mind out on the mound.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki provided the following responses from the Phillies young starter.
"“Am I aware of it? Yeah,” Velasquez said about the trade speculation. “I can’t control anything. If they trade me, they trade me. I can’t do anything about it. What am I going to do? The only thing I can do is pitch. That’s my job.”Asked after the game if it would disappoint him to be traded again, Velasquez said, “No, no. At first, when I got traded from the Astros, it was kind of tough for me. But you have to move on, you have to make the best of what you’ve got. If things happen, just let it happen. If I go to another team, then I’ve got to make the best of what I’ve got there.“There’s a lot of things that are in the future. I don’t know what to expect is what I’m saying. Again, all I can do is live in the present and live another day tomorrow. If something happens, something happens. I’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got today.”"
There are some pros and cons to trading Velasquez. First off, you could take him and potentially acquire around five prospects who could become cornerstone pieces to the franchise. Additionally, Velasquez has a history of injury concerns. The Phillies could deal him while he still has value as a young power arm.
Among the cons of trading Velasquez is losing a young piece of your rotation. He’s shown he has the stuff to be a potential ace in Philadelphia, and trading him before he hits his prime could come back to haunt general manager Matt Klentak.
Through 17 starts this season, Velasquez is 8-2 with a 3.34 era and over 100 strikeouts.
Should the Phillies ultimately decide to trade Vincent Velasquez, they would have to get an overwhelming package of both prospects and major league player.
While the Phillies wrung-out the Rangers farm system in the Cole Hamels trade, there is still plenty of talent to go around.
The Phillies have reportedly had their top scout watching the Rangers, which could mean a major league bat being in play for the Phillies. Texas had their top scouts at Velasquez’s start Friday in Atlanta.
Texas’s number one prospect is corner-infielder Joey Gallo, who is known for putting up strong power numbers. He has 19 home runs in 70 games this year, but is hitting just .246 and has 91 strikeouts.
Some worry he’s the next Russell Branyan, who spent about two weeks on the Phillies roster in 2007. Branyan was known for having excellent power, but struggled with his consistency and getting on base. In 40 games at the major league level, Gallo is hitting .197. In Triple-A this season, Gallo is hitting .246 in 70 games.
Should the Phillies acquire Gallo, he’d be tabbed the first baseman of the future. He’s currently ranked the best third base prospect in baseball, although the Phillies are set at the hot corner with Maikel Franco.
The second overall prospect for Texas is outfielder Lewis Brinson, who was the Rangers first round pick in 2012. He’s known for his raw power and speed, although he has struggled this season in Double-A.
As for pitching, the Rangers have a couple of prospects to keep an eye on. Their top pitching prospect Luis Ortiz is currently on the disabled list, which would most likely keep him off the trade table. The next man up is lefty Yohander Mendez, a Venezuelan native who has dominated in Double-A this season. He is 9-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts. He’s struck out 92 batters, and is holding opponents to a .206 batting average.
At the major league level, the Phillies will most-likely be looking at two bats: outfielder Nomar Mazara and infielder Jurickson Profar. Mazara is a 21-year-old rookie, who is hitting .279 with 12 home runs. Mazara’s primary position is right field, a place the Phillies have been struggling to fill since losing Jayson Werth to free agency.
With Profar, you are getting a player who was once considered the top prospect in all of baseball. Profar can play all-across the field, which will could help the Phillies in a lot of positions. Most likely he would play second base, although he can also play shortstop and the outfield. Profar is hitting .294 in 49 games with a .347 on-base percentage.
If the Phillies needed to sweeten the deal for Texas, Jeremy Hellickson, Cameron Rupp, and Carlos Ruiz are all in play. Texas needs pitching and catching, which are two things the Phillies have plenty of. The team could reunite Carlos Ruiz with Cole Hamels and allow him to have a history with multiple players on the Rangers staff.
With the deadline creeping ever closer, you never know what to believe. If the rumors surrounding Velasquez are true, we could be looking at a blockbuster trade once again in Philadelphia.