Phillies Officially End Vince Velasquez Era With His Release

Photo credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. 

After designating Vince Velasquez for assignment on Sept. 11, the beleaguered starting pitcher was released by the Phillies last night. It was more of a formality at this point, as injured players can’t be placed outright on waivers, but it officially marked the end of an era that was once so exciting.

If he clears release waivers he’ll be free to sign with another team.

It was a strange six-years for the once-promising starting pitcher. The Phillies acquired Velasquez in December 2015 for closer Ken Giles and prospect Jonathan Arauz. Houston sent Mark Appel, Thomas Eshelman, Harold Arauz and lefty Brett Oberholtzer to the Phillies in the deal.

Ant eloquently put the Velasquez era into words last week, openly questioning why the Phillies stuck with him for so very long. Sometimes a pitcher’s promise can blind an organization to all of his obvious flaws, and that seemed to be the case with Vince.

It was evident from the beginning that Velasquez had a “live arm” and he captured the love and attention of Phillies fans when he mowed down the Padres in an early April 2016 start that saw him strikeout 16 in a 3-hit shutout. In his first two starts with the Phillies Velasquez threw 15 scoreless innings and struck out 25 batters. Fans and the media could only hope the Phillies had gotten an absolute steal in the young right hander.

Nobody could foresee this being the high point of Velasquez’s career.

Through the next six years of his career Velasquez frustrated and puzzled a fanbase that wondered where the talented young pitcher had gone. In a pattern that would follow him season by season, Velasquez showed a maddening inability to put together consistent starts. Phillies fans knew to belay their hopes every time Velasquez took to the mound and showed early promise, because that one “Velasquez” inning was always lurking around the corner.

You know the type of inning. Velasquez would slow his approach to a crawl, start to nibble way too much, and before you knew it he had thrown 47 pitches and had given up three earned runs, on his way to yet another quick hook and disappointing appearance.

2021 seemed to be an especially difficult year for Velasquez. He got into a well-publicized argument with a fan in Boston and spoke out against a quick hook against the Braves in July after he had given up four earned runs in less than three innings. Coupled with his continued decline, the writing was on the wall for the 29 year old.

Good luck Vince. We all look forward to your revenge start against the Phillies next season when you go 3.2 IP, throw 97 pitches, and give up 5 earned runs.

 

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