4. Vince Velasquez, RHP Philadelphia Phillies
If you’ve followed the site with any regularity, you guys know I am a pretty big fan of Phillies RHP Nick Pivetta. So much so, calling him “under the radar” is probably hypocritical coming from me. The Mariners should be interested in Pivetta, but also Vince Velasquez as well.
Velasquez, who doesn’t turn 28-year-olds until June, has been a steady presence in the Phillies rotation since 2016 but was moved to the bullpen at the end of 2019 and it may be time for both sides to move on.
Velasquez certainly isn’t a bad pitcher by any stretch, but inconsistency has prevented him for reaching his ceiling. In his career, Velasquez has punched out 9.8 K/9 while posting a career 4.34 FIP. Rock-solid. Unfortunately, he also walks 3.48 hitter per nine and is susceptible to the long ball which is, let’s say a sub-par combination.
But the real question is whether or not Velasquez can provide league-average or better innings until the team believes Dunn and/or Gilbert is ready to face big-league hitters. Based on his track record which spans 99 big league starts, I think it’s safe to assume he can.
Unlike Samardzija, Velasquez has 2-years of club control and is scheduled to earn roughly $3.9 million in 2020 and will likely earn $7 millionish in 2021. Velasquez falls into the “opportunity buy” category that GM Jerry Dipoto has already admitted he thinks the team will be interested in.
He can give you 20 starts and if his home run rate drops outside of the bandbox in Philadelphia, he could get you some nice return in a trade next summer as he will have 1.5 years of club control remaining.
Velasquez is young enough that it is possible he pitches himself into the future plans for the team as well. The Mariners can basically use 2020 as an audition, using Velasquez as a starter until Dunn and Gilbert are ready, the transition him into the bullpen before deciding if they’ll bring him back in 2021.
There is a lot of roster flexibility that comes with acquiring 2-years of Velasquez and he should be relatively cheap to acquire as well. The Phillies may be looking for a centerfielder, so perhaps some form of Mallex Smith for Vince Velasquez makes sense for both teams.