Phillies designate Velasquez for assignment in series of roster moves


In a series of roster moves prior to Saturday night's game, the Phillies designated Vince Velasquez for assignment, likely ending his six-year run with the organization. 

They also activated veteran pinch-hitter Matt Joyce from the 60-day injured list and called up outfielder Mickey Moniak and right-hander Adonis Medina. 

Joyce, Moniak and Medina take the place on the active roster of relievers Ramon Rosso and Enyel De Los Santos, who were optioned to Triple A, and Travis Jankowski, who went on the 10-day IL with a foot contusion.

The biggest move of the bunch was removing Velasquez from the 40-man roster. When a player is designated for assignment, he is placed on waivers. If a team claims him, it absorbs his remaining salary. For Velasquez, that figure is approximately $562,000. If he passes through waivers unclaimed, he can either accept an assignment to the minor leagues or reject the assignment and become a free agent.

Velasquez was unlikely to be part of the Phillies' future plans beyond 2021, his final season under contract. He had a 5.95 ERA this season as a starter and reliever and a 4.93 ERA overall in 582⅔ innings as a Phillie. Among pitchers who made at least 100 starts with the Phillies, Velasquez has the highest home run rate in franchise history (1.54 per 9 IP), the highest opponents' OPS in franchise history (.798) and the highest walk rate in 83 years (3.75 per 9 IP).

The Phillies used Velasquez, Matt Moore and Chase Anderson at the back of their rotation at various points throughout 2021 but all three lost those jobs. Anderson was released at the end of August and latched on with the Rangers, Velasquez lost his starting role multiple times and has been DFA'd, and the Phillies are still more confident in using their bullpen than Moore every fifth day.


Velasquez had been pitching on a minor-league rehab assignment. He has been on the injured list since August 2 because of a blister on his right middle finger. 

The Phillies signed the left-handed-hitting Joyce to a minor-league deal in February. He made the team out of camp, then went 5 for 50 before a lower back strain sidelined him in mid-June and kept him out for nearly three months.

This is the ninth time that Moniak has been called up since last September. The No. 1 overall pick from 2016 was hitting .244/.305/.435 at Triple A. He has gone 6 for 43 (.140) in 50 major-league plate appearances.

Medina was called up in mid-August but did not appear in a game and was sent back to the minors the next day. He made one appearance for the Phillies in 2020, a start, and gave up two runs over four innings. The 24-year-old had a 5.05 ERA in 17 starts at Triple A this season.

With active rosters at 28 players in September, the Phillies have 13 position players and 15 pitchers.

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