One year from the blockbuster trade that sent left-handed starter Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers, the two teams are talking again.  Less than three days from the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, the Rangers are poised to make a big push towards the playoffs.  Once again the Rangers have their eye on a Phillies starting pitcher.

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reported late Friday night that the Phillies and Rangers are in trade talks:

A major league source told that the Phillies and Texas Rangers are “pretty deep” in trade discussions involving Velasquez. The Rangers, the source said, also have some interest in Jeremy Hellickson, who pitches for the Phillies on Saturday night, but he appears to be a secondary target.

Earlier this week Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the Rangers had interest.

The Phillies raided the Rangers system last season in the Hamels trade, but the Rangers have much more to offer.  With the system stocked, the Rangers might be willing to part with some strong talent to acquire Velasquez, who has many years of control left.  If the price is high for a short-term rental and for a permanent piece like Velasquez, the Rangers may go for a piece they can control.

A friend texted me this evening and asked, "Why would the Phillies trade Velasquez?"   I do not think that the Phillies are planning to move Velasquez by any means, but they are in a position to listen should a team like the Rangers with a stocked farm system wishes to overpay.   The Phillies still could use some long-term solutions offensively, and the likes of Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar would help, even if Nomar Mazara cannot be pried from the Rangers' hands.

Aaron NolaJerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, Ben Lively,  Nick PivettaAlec Asher, Franklyn Kilome, Ricardo Pinto, Kevin Gowdy, Thomas Eschelman, and Mark Appel all remain in the Phillies system. Few of these names have the power arm that Velasquez has, but  the Phillies could easily pay for an established ace in the 2018 free agent class.

The Phillies could get multiple pieces back for Velasquez, who was one of five that came the Phillies' way in the Ken Giles trade.  Fans were understandably wary of trading Giles, and probably would be wary of trading Velasquez.  But the Phillies conceivably could end up with eight pieces total from the trade of Giles.  Stay tuned.