Texas Rangers rumors: Vince Velasquez, the Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher, is someone the Rangers have interest in, according to Jon Morosi. The Rangers, who have been beating the bushes looking for starting pitching, and in particular young, cost-controlled starting pitching with upside, would no doubt find Velasquez appealing, and he's one of no doubt dozens of pitchers the Rangers have inquired about or shown interest in.
Velasquez, 24, was a second round pick of the Houston Astros in 2010, and was sent to the Phillies as part of the Ken Giles deal. He has a 3.34 ERA and a 3.60 FIP in 91.2 IP over 17 starts this season, and just on the surface of his numbers, you can see he's missing a lot of bats (103 Ks in 91.2 IP), but is also having problems working deep into games -- excluding the start he left in early June 1 batter into the game, he's still averaging right around 5.2 IP per start, and he's gone more than 6 IP in just two starts this season. He's been on the disabled list this year with a biceps strain, and some folks question whether he will be able to stay in the rotation, or if he will end up in the bullpen.
My inclination is to dismiss this as far-fetched, though the last time I did that with a rumor it was Ian Desmond, and he was signed very soon thereafter, so I'm not going to be too cavalier about this. Velasquez would give the Rangers a quality young starting pitcher (assuming he stays in the rotation) under team control through 2021, and would allow them to better weather the likely departure of Yu Darvish after 2017. On the other hand, the price is going to be steep...the Phillies are likely going to be asking for the same players they wanted (and didn't get) in the Cole Hamels trade last year, namely one of Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo or Lewis Brinson, and likely something else if it were Gallo or Brinson.