As Philadelphia Phillies fans have become accustomed to in 2016, starter Vince Velasquez threw six innings in Friday evening's loss to the Atlanta Braves, giving the team a chance to win the game by only allowing two runs. He also gave potential trade suitors a chance to watch him.
According to Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, one of the many teams that had scouts at the game this evening was the Texas Rangers, who Salisbury notes are more than just doing their due-diligence:
A major league source told CSNPhilly.com that the Phillies and Texas Rangers are “pretty deep” in trade discussions involving Velasquez.
This isn't the first time that Velasquez has been connected to the Rangers. Earlier this evening, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Rangers were 'all over' the 24-year-old, but downplayed the chances of a trade actually happening. This followed up a report from his colleague Jon Morosi earlier this week that first noted the interest of the American League West leaders.
Earlier today, I took a look back at what seemed like a strange visit from top Phillies' scout Charley Kerfeld to watch the Rangers take on the New York Yankees late last month. In hindsight, the visit may have been the Phillies' first public look at what a trade for Velasquez could potentially look like. It's worth noting that at that time Jurickson Profar was with the team, while Joey Gallo was in the minor leagues.
Velasquez, who is under team control through the 2021 season, is 8-2 with a 3.34 ERA and a 2.0 WAR (per Fangraphs) in 2016. Various reports have suggested that the Phillies weren't thrilled with his trade physical last winter when they acquired him as part of the Ken Giles trade with the Houston Astros.