The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is one week from today, and teams are actively making deals.   Word broke this afternoon that the Cubs were close to acquiring relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees.  Looking for upgrades is the Texas Rangers, with whom the Phillies made the blockbuster Cole Hamels trade last season.  One name the Rangers reportedly are interested in is Phillies starter Vince Velasquez.

On the surface, moving Velasquez seems illogical, but there is a good reason.

Stephen Gross of the Allentown Morning Call noted today that if the Phillies trade their only veteran in Jeremy Hellickson, the starting rotation would be incredibly young.   With Velasquez, Aaron NolaJerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin in the fold, there is no room for a proven veteran.   The Phillies might benefit by having a proven big-league starter if they hope to contend.

That means they must subtract one of the above.  And that's before the team sees if Ben Lively,  Nick PivettaAlec Asher, Franklyn Kilome, Ricardo Pinto, and Mark Appel.

The only reason the Phillies landed Appel is because Velasquez had some injury concerns during the physical.  If there is some concern that Velasquez could relapse and get injured, there might be incentive to trade Velasquez while the cost is high.  If the Phillies get some high-quality pieces in return for Velasquez, the move could be a shrew move by the Phillies.

Part of the reason the Phillies fell apart over the last few years was a mentality that the team had to keep every single asset they had until they fell apart.   Trading Velasquez carries some risk, but could be what brings big pieces towards the future.  The Phillies know the Rangers farm system well from the Hamels trade last year and know that there are some remaining assets.

The Phillies have no real need to dump Velasquez, but if the Rangers are willing to pony up a good amount, Velasquez is by no means untouchable.   Stay tuned.

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