The SF Giants will have a handful of holes to fill this offseason, and several non-tender candidates could meet those needs. Could Phillies starter Vince Velasquez fit the bill?
Over the last week, we’ve been trying to identify non-tender candidates who could be a fit for the SF Giants if they do, in fact, hit the open market. In previous installments, we’ve discussed the possible fits of Tommy Pham, Kyle Schwarber, Ross Stripling, and Danny Santana.
First up, we need to identify the team’s areas of need this offseason.
In a perfect world, the front office would add the following to the roster before Opening Day arrives:
- Left-handed bat
- Starting pitching depth
- Veteran relievers
Philadelphia Phillies Non-Tender Candidate: Vince Velasquez
SF Giants Need he fills: Starting pitching depth
Velasquez has shown flashes of becoming an above-average pitcher over the years, but he has struggled to remain consistent. The Phillies have to decide whether to pay the right-handed hurler a raise through arbitration or let him walk.
If they decide to non-tender him, he would be a nice fit a need for the SF Giants.
Velasquez was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round of the 2010 draft but was dished away in a blockbuster trade that sent Ken Giles back to Houston.
In parts of six seasons, the 28-year-old has registered a 28-35 record with a 4.72 ERA (4.33 FIP) and a 25.7 percent strikeout rate against a 9.1 percent walk rate.
While the walk rate sits in the Jonathan Sanchez realm of command and control, he has failed to limit hard contact enough to make him succesful. Velasquez has induced a ground ball in only 36.4 percent of his batted ball events, so opposing hitters lift the ball in the air against him 63.4 percent of the time. This is not an ideal rate and partly explains why his 1.4 HR/9 ratio is so high.
Why The SF Giants Should Target Vince Velasquez
Velasquez flashes a fastball that sits comfortably in the mid-90’s and he pairs it with a curveball, changeup, sinker, and slider. He gets good movement on his fastball, but his offspeed offerings rate as below-average pitches.
The 2020 season seemed like more of the same from Velasquez. Across 34 frames, he posted a 5.56 ERA, but he also posted the highest strikeout rate of his career (12.2 strikeouts per nine innings) and a solid 4.16 FIP. If you are a believer in FIP, then you see Velasquez as someone whose ERA has underperformed his peripherals. To put it more plainly, he could be a better pitcher in disguise.
Furthermore, playing half of his games at Citizen’s Bank Park, which leans more in favor of the hitter, is not helping Velasquez’s numbers one bit. Given his preponderance for fly balls, a move to Oracle Park could be especially valuable for the righty.
If he goes through arbitration, he’ll hit free agency next offseason. However, the Phillies may decide that they can better leverage his payroll space and roster spot to address other needs. Granted, his salary is far from overwhelming. If he were someone that intrigued Giants brass, they could offer up a fringe prospect for his services to ensure they bring him to Oracle Park.
If the Phillies move on from Vince Velasquez, he would be a solid depth addition for the SF Giants. The deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract is on December 2, and the expectation is that there will be an unusually high number of non-tender players hitting the market. Velasquez could very well be one of them.