Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez is one of the most intriguing names being talked about leading up to the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

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Rangers’ Pursuit of Velasquez Reportedly Falling Short

Saturday, July 30

The door may be open for other teams to get involved in the sweepstakes, with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reporting Saturday a deal between the Phillies and Texas Rangers is now viewed as “unlikely.”

Velasquez is enjoying a breakout campaign in Philadelphia with a 3.32 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 97.2 innings across 18 starts. The progress is encouraging after an up-and-down rookie season with the Houston Astros in 2015 before getting dealt to Philly last winter.

His high strikeout rate (9.95 per nine innings) makes him a coveted target. The biggest question is whether he’ll be able to continue getting a lot of swings and misses when he starts attacking the zone more, which will be necessary to lower his elevated walk rate (3.32).

He’s handling the situation well for a 24-year-old player who already went through one move in the past calendar year.

He told Jim Salisbury of that he tries not to get too emotionally invested in things he can’t control, like the constant trade talk:

At first when I got traded from the Astros it was kind of tough for me, but you have to move on and make the best of what you’ve got. If things happen, just let it happen. If I go to another team, then I’ve got to make the best of what I’ve got there. There’s a lot of things that are in the future. I don’t know what to expect is what I’m saying. Again, all I can do is live in the present and live another day tomorrow. If something happens, something happens. I’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got today.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports previously reported the Rangers were “all over” Velasquez, but he also noted there was no agreement on the horizon.

While the Phillies’ asking price is unclear, that’s probably the sticking point. They are likely demanding a sizable package in return for the starter based on his age, early results and the fact he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season, according to Spotrac.

For a team like Philadelphia, which is in the middle stages of a rebuild, trading a promising young starter like Velasquez seems like a step in the wrong direction. Perhaps the right combination of prospects could change the outlook, though.


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