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Before signing with Tigers, veteran starter drew interest from Phillies

Before signing a one-year/$3.25 million deal with the Detroit Tigers Wednesday, veteran righty José Ureña also garnered interest from the Philadelphia Phillies, per Jon Heyman of RADIO.COM.

Citizens Bank Park has been the home of the Phillies since 2004. (Tim Kelly/Phillies Nation)

Ureña, 29, has a 4.60 ERA in 98 career starts, all of which have come as a member of the Miami Marlins. Though he’s never put it all together, Ureña has an excellent repertoire, which features a mid-90s fastball, along with a sinker, change-up and slider. The Phillies don’t have a great – or even good – recent track record of unlocking the potential in pitchers, but it’s not hard to see why they would have interest in Ureña for a year.

While that ship has sailed, it its a reminder that Dave Dombrowski, Sam Fuld and company probably need to add another starter to eat innings. After Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin, there is nearly no certainty in the starting rotation. Spencer Howard has had arm injuries in consecutive seasons and only threw 24 1/3 innings in 2020. The Phillies decided to tender Vince Velasquez a contract for 2021, but he has failed to develop into a consistent starting option in five previous seasons in Philadelphia.

Phillies icon Cole Hamels is a free agent, though injuries have really hampered the soon-to-be 37-year-old over the last two seasons, as evidenced by the fact that he made just one start for the Atlanta Braves last season.

Among former All-Stars that could be serviceable back-end-of-the-rotation options, Adam Wainwright might make more sense. Though the three-time All-Star is 39 years old, he did post a 3.15 ERA and 4.10 FIP in 10 starts for the St. Louis Cardinals this past season. With a self-imposed budget, the $6 million price that Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has projected Wainwright will cost in 2020 may be too rich for the Phillies, but that’s seemingly a fair price.

Other options that the Phillies could consider if they want to sign a starter to a major league contract this winter include J.A. Happ, Jon Lester, Rick Porcello and Chris Archer.


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