Report: Vince Velasquez Draws Trade Interest
The Phillies tended contracts to all players that were arbitration eligible, sans relievers Adam Morgan and Heath Hembree, previously outrighted. One of the names tendered a contract was seemingly on the bubble: starter Vince Velasquez. Before the Phillies made their decision, it appears they had some interest in trading for Velasquez.
Matt Gelb of the Athletic reports that Velaquez drew trade interest:
In fact, the Phillies drew numerous trade inquiries on Velasquez, according to two sources. They could have acted on that interest but opted for more time to consider Velasquez’s future fit.
Perhaps the interest of others had the Phillies thinking again.
Velasquez has been consistently inconsistent for the Phillies since arriving in the trade that sent reliever Ken Giles to the Houston Astros. Known for his signature 4 2/3-inning starts, the Phillies have nonetheless largely used Velasquez as a starter. This was partially due to a limited supply of starting pitching, but also because Velasquez seems to ooze talent and potential.
Therefore, it's not much of a surprise that the Phillies would appear to be reluctant to sell low and why teams might be looking to buy low to see if they can help Velasquez figure things out. But the Phillies have a new pitching coach in town in Caleb Cotham. Maybe Cotham wants the opportuntiy to see if he can help Velasquez figure things out.
But the Phillies should exercise great caution on counting on Velasquez as a starting pitcher and establish depth. Already down Jake Arrieta and with Spencer Howard still a relatively unknown quantity coming off an injury, the Phillies arguably need two starting pitchers. Would the Phillies actually devote time to Velasquez becoming a reliever?
They have not yet. Maybe this is the year. Or, maybe one of the interested teams pulls off a trade for Velasquez. But he remains a Phillies asset for now.