A deal sending Phillies right-hander Vincent Velasquez to the Rangers is considered “unlikely,” according to a report from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury reported Friday night that the sides were in “pretty deep” talks about a Velasquez trade.
Texas is known to be aggressively pursuing pitching options, even after swinging a deal with the Braves for Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez earlier in the week. The Rangers had multiple scouts on hand to watch Velasquez’s start last night in Atlanta, and are thought to consider him as one of their prime targets with less than 72 hours until the non-waiver trade deadline.
Velasquez, 24, would at first appear to be an unlikely trade candidate as an effective, controllable starter on a rebuilding club. Velasquez has pitched to an 8-3 record and 3.32 ERA in 18 starts in his first season with Philadelphia after being acquired over the winter in a deal that sent closer Ken Giles to the Astros.
Velasquez is under team control through the 2021 season, and is expected to be a major piece of the Phillies’ rotation mix going forward. In a sellers’ market for starting pitching, Philadelphia is wise to at least listen what the Rangers have to offer, though a deal is unlikely to be consummated without the inclusion of Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar on Texas’ end.
Texas also has interest in Phillies righty Jeremy Hellickson, who is a more realistic trade target this weekend. The Rangers are widely expected to be in the mix for starting help, and have the prospect pieces to complete a significant deal.