Velasquez calm with trade rumors swirling

Pitcher delivers six strong innings in loss with Rangers scouts in attendance

Velasquez calm with trade rumors swirling

ATLANTA -- Matt Klentak made Vince Velasquez the centerpiece to his first major trade as Phillies general manager in December.

Could Velasquez really be traded again, fewer than eight months later?

The Phillies and Rangers are having serious talks about the possibility, although sources told on Friday they do not believe anything is close. But three Rangers' scouts, including one of their top talent evaluators, watched Velasquez pitch in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. Texas would not be wasting the manpower if talks were not legitimate, although they are expected to watch Jeremy Hellickson pitch Saturday night, too.

MLB Network's Jon Paul Morosi first reported earlier this week that Texas wants Velasquez.

"Am I aware of it? Yeah," Velasquez said about the trade speculation. "I can't control anything. If they trade me, they trade me. I can't do anything about it. What am I going to do? The only thing I can do is pitch. That's my job."

It is safe to say the Phillies would have to be very impressed with a trade package to deal a young and talented pitcher under team control through 2021. Klentak and Phillies president Andy MacPhail have repeatedly stressed they believe they key to returning to the postseason is building a talented and deep rotation. That said, it would be foolish for the rebuilding Phillies to cover their ears and not listen to what teams had to say.

Even Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that.

"Our whole goal was to get young pitchers, because they're the most expensive commodity," he said. "If you can develop young pitchers like him and have four or five of those guys, then you're ahead of the game, but at the same time I'll listen to any offers if you get three guys for him that are really good looking prospects. You've got to consider it."

And the Phillies are listening.

The trade with Houston almost fell apart in December when the Phillies had concerns about Velasquez's physical. The Phillies and Astros eventually reconfigured the trade, including right-hander Mark Appel as insurance.

Velasquez missed some time in June because of a strained right biceps, but it was not serious. He has pitched six or more innings in each of his past five starts, including on Friday against the Braves. He allowed seven hits, two runs, two walks and struck out five in six innings.

"He did a good job," Mackanin said. "But Vince is a power pitcher, and he didn't look like a power pitcher today. I bet he used more two-seam fastballs, changeups and breaking balls than he did his four-seam fastball. He pitched well, obviously, but he's pitching differently than you would expect him to pitch."

Of course, the next time Velasquez pitches, it could be for somebody else.

Asked after the game if it would disappoint him to be traded again, Velasquez said, "No, no. At first, when I got traded from the Astros, it was kind of tough for me. But you have to move on, you have to 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."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.