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Phillies, Velasquez reportedly avoid arbitration, agree to deal


The Philadelphia Phillies and RHP Vince Velasquez have agreed to a one-year deal worth $4 million, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Velasquez, who is represented by CAA Baseball, will avoid an arbitration hearing with the Phillies.

Vince Velasquez will return to the Phillies in 2021. (Cheryl Pursell)

Friday marks the deadline for arbitration-eligible players who have yet to agree to a deal to exchange salary figures with their respective teams. First baseman Rhys Hoskins and newly required left-handed relief pitcher Jose Alverado are the only arbitration-eligible Phillies who do not have a deal in place for next season.

If the Phillies fail to agree on a salary figure by the end of today with either of those players, they could go to a salary arbitration hearing at some point during spring training. Both sides will argue their case over a panel of arbitrators and the panel will decide the salary of the player by choosing one of the two proposed figures. The two sides can come to an agreement on a 2021 salary any time before the scheduled hearing. Last season, the Phillies won a salary arbitration hearing against J.T. Realmuto and settled with Héctor Neris on a one-year deal that included a club option for 2021.

It wouldn’t be too surprising if Hoskins, who is represented by Scott Boras, goes to an arbitration hearing with the Phillies. He is projected to make between $3.4 and $5.5 million, per MLB Trade Rumors.

The industry expectation, according to Robert Murray of FanSided, is that most players and clubs will avoid a hearing altogether and workout deals today.

Velasquez, 28, is entering his sixth season with the Phillies. He appeared in a total of nine games (seven starts) and while he impressed in summer camp, Velasquez struggled to find consistency once again during the regular season. He finished this season with a 5.56 ERA and 4.16 FIP and an fWAR of 0.7, which is fifth among Phillies pitchers this season.

It’s unclear whether or not Velasquez will spend a significant amount of time in the starting rotation this season. Spencer Howard will probably be on an innings limit as he never pitched more than 126 innings in a season in his career. The Phillies, along with 25 other teams, reportedly attended free agent starter Corey Kluber’s showcase and could be in on the former CY Young Award-winner, who is expected to sign this weekend. They have also shown interest in Anibal Sánchez and missed out on José Ureña. It’s obvious that they want to improve the rotation beyond Howard and Velasquez but Dombrowski did not specifically mention starting pitching as a dire need.

Velasquez is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season.

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