Phillies: It’s time to break up with pitcher Vince Velasquez

Vince Velasquez #21 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Vince Velasquez #21 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Phillies should part ways with starting pitcher Vince Velasquez

This is the fifth year of Philadelphia Phillies right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez.

They have given him everything, been there for him, and provided an opportunity to grow together. In the beginning, it felt like a perfect match on April 14, 2016, after a 16-strikeout complete-game shutout. He keeps failing the Phillies, though. The team believes he can change for the better, but he just hasn’t. And it keeps happening over and over again.

Sounds like a relationship, right? Well, it’s been a rocky one. And it needs to end. It’s time for the Phillies to break up with Velasquez.

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It has only been one start into 2020, but the same problems with which Velasquez arrived from the 2015 Ken Giles trade persist: lots of strikeouts, but far too many walks, no command, far too many home runs, and not enough innings. The classic Velasquez start is 4 or 5 innings, 3 runs, 4 walks, 4 hits, and 6 strikeouts.

One could argue that a move to the bullpen would benefit him. After being exiled from the rotation last year, he had seven bullpen appearances. Was he any better? Not really. Coming in from a terrible bullpen certainly made him look the part, relatively speaking, but it just packed all of the same frustration into one inning instead of spreading them out.

Sunday’s line against one of the worst teams in baseball — the Miami Marlins — that was already missing four players due to COVID-19: 3 innings, 3 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 2 home runs, and 4 strikeouts.

I don’t know about you, Joe Girardi and Matt Klentak, but that’s a good line for a taxi squad player — not a team that has playoff aspirations.

How would the Phillies make the change? Spencer Howard is a popular name that gets thrown around among fans. He should be given a shot to start. In a 60-game sprint, what do you have to lose? With Velasquez on the mound, the only thing the Phillies would be losing is more games. Find out if your young pitcher can pitch.

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Of course, Girardi already announced following the disappointing loss against the Marlins on Sunday that Velasquez will get another chance this coming Friday against the Blue Jays.

As for Howard’s service time, here’s a counter-argument: the value of a good pitcher now is far more than the chance of a good pitcher later. If Howard is not ready, give next season a shot. But it seems nonsensical to wait around on what is likely the next-best option.

And while we’re at it, the Phillies should trade Nick Pivetta and Cole Irvin for anything — even a bag of Doritos.