Philadelphia Phillies: Julio Teheran is just what the doctor ordered

For the majority of this year’s offseason, the talk surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies has been dominated by their need for a new bullpen, and the likelihood of J.T. Realmuto re-signing for the foreseeable future. While both of these aspects are undoubtedly crucial to the team’s future outlook, an underrated need that has somewhat slipped through the cracks is that of some added starting pitching depth.

At the moment, the Phillies fifth starter is Vince Velasquez. Behind him? No-one.

Julio Teheran would stabilize the Philadelphia Phillies rotation.

With that said, Dave Dombrowski is clearly not oblivious to his team’s lack of overall starting pitching depth. He’s highlighted it a few times during his Zoom press conferences, and him and his team have been doing some research on potential back-of-the-rotation arms. The Phillies were linked to Anibal Sanchez earlier last week, and now are being connected to the likes of right-hander Julio Teheran.

Jim Salisbury (NBC Sports Philadelphia) first reported the news on Tuesday evening, and had the following to say about Teheran:

“Teheran, who will turn 30 this month, was a fixture in Atlanta’s rotation from 2013 to 2019, twice making the All-Star team in that span. He signed a $10 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels before the 2020 season and pitched poorly with an ERA of 10.05 in 31⅓ innings.”

Teheran is exactly the type of starter the Phillies should be targeting right about now. While he definitely had a brutal 2020 campaign, he’s been an extremely reliable starter for the majority of his MLB career. From 2013 to 2019 with Atlanta Teheran posted a 3.67 ERA and 1.211 WHIP. He won 77 total games for the Braves during this timeframe, and like Salisbury mentioned, was selected to two All-Star games (2014, 2016).

At such a young age, Teheran is undoubtedly the type of arm that could “bounce back” in 2021. The past year with LA was his first major nightmare season, which was primarily the result of some nagging injuries and a run in with COVID-19. While he likely won’t ever return to his previous All-Star caliber form, there’s certain a commonly held belief that he’ll settle back into being a 3.50-4.00 ERA type of pitcher.

The Philadelphia Phillies obviously aren’t in the market for any marquee starters, but they absolutely need some depth at the back of their rotation. Not only would Teheran be one of the better fifth starters in the National League, but it’d also allow Joe Girardi to push Vince Velasquez into a reliever role, something that he (in theory) is better suited for.

A handful of teams have reportedly checked in on Teheran this offseason, so competition might be surprisingly stiff. With that said, landing Teheran on an incentive laden one-year deal would give the Phillies a huge boost for the upcoming season.