Phillies Mailbag: Center Field, Moore, the Velasquez Problem
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and answer them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill on Tuesday afternoons. Ask a question anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose.
Who gets the next crack in CF? Scott Kingery, Odubel Herrera or Mickey Moniak? For the record, you've gotta give Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley the rest of April in my opinion.
I think Tony is correct: we have seen a small sample size of Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley. We are talking nine games against two teams. But the Phillies really need to see both of these players first and foremost.
Haseley is a first round pick. If you don't let him play, will you know what you truly have? Could the injuries be bothering him and will that subside? It's hard to say at that point. The Phillies need a larger sample size to find out.
Quinn has also been hard to figure out. What people know is that Quinn is a weapon on the base paths. Do you want him on your bench to pinch run in the late innings? He's an near-automatic steal and there's value in that.
I think of the names mentioned, Scott Kingery is the more likely to return. Initial reports from the Alternate Site about Kingery tend to be good. But for Kingery to come up and play center field daily, they would have to fully give up on Quinn or demote Haseley. I think the latter would be more likely, but neither is desirable right now.
So let's see how they're both doing when they're not facing the Braves and Mets and go from there.
Do you think the Phillies like what they've seen from Moore or are they looking for more (IP or ER-wise)?
The Phillies signed Matt Moore for some veteran innings. So far in two starts against the Mets and the Braves, the numbers do not look good. Let's break down those two starts.
Moore's first start against the Mets started out really well. He breezed through the first inning, making the Mets look almost silly. In the fourth inning, Moore met trouble. The Phillies ended up going to Brandon Kintzler to shut down that inning and the bullpen helped the Phillies win.
It was his first start, so maybe he just tired some and he will continue to build stamina.
Start number two against the Braves Moore gave up nine hits and five runs over five innings. That's not a stellar start, but the Phillies were able to walk away with a win in that start as well. Facing Drew Smyly, the two lefties seemed to match each other in a meeting of number four starters.
I credit Moore with battling and getting through five innings Sunday.
I can see Moore being someone who will give up some runs to some tough offenses. But there will be days he pitches well against some other teams without the offensive pedigree of the Braves. Let's see how he will do against them.
What do the Phillies expect to see from Vince Velasquez that would cause him to still be on the squad?
I never thought the Phillies would tender a contract to Vince Velasquez this past winter. Since 2016, Velasquez has demonstrated that rarely could he do better than his signature 4 2/3-inning starts. Why? Because he throws way too many pitches, going for the strikeout instead of going after hitters and getting them out.
The Phillies made the decision to tender a contract to Velasquez on December 2. Nine days later, they came to terms with and announced that Dave Dombrowski would run baseball operations. One must wonder if Dombrowski would have made the same decision.
Dombrowski could have made the decision to terminate the contract during Spring Training, which would cost the Phillies about $1 million. Instead, the club decided to pay Velasquez $4 million, with the idea he could start some games when necessary and otherwise pitch out of the bullpen.
Velasquez has pitched just one and one-third innings over the first nine games of the season. And guess what? The Phillies are going to have to do what he was brought in for: use a sixth starter.
The rainout on Monday night means that today's doubleheader will throw off the pitching rotation. The Phillies will start Chase Anderson and Aaron Nola this afternoon and evening, respectively. Then, Zack Wheeler and Zack Eflin will close out the Mets series Wednesday and Thursday. Matt Moore is scheduled to pitch Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Saturday will have to be someone else. Will that be Velasquez? And, if it is, what can Velasquez give the Phillies? Further, can the Phillies manage with a shorter bullpen until then, with Velasquez out of it?
I think Velasquez is not likely to go away anytime soon, because Dombrowski inherited this $4 million contract. Could he move it? Maybe if another team is looking to unload a player with a similar salary. But it won't be easy.