Phillies: Jeremy Hellickson Sitting Pretty As Free Agency Approaches

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Jul 25, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Reports say the qualifying offer for impending free agents is set. Now, the Phillies must decide if Jeremy Hellickson is worth it.

The Philadelphia Phillies will have five days following the World Series to offer impending free agent starting pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson, a qualifying offer. An offer in which he has seven days to accept, or leave on the table.

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported that Major League Baseball has set the qualifying offer salary for top upcoming free agents at $17.2 million.

Breakdown

Hellickson, 29, made 32 starts this past season. Going an impressive 12-10, with a 3.71 ERA. One could argue Hellickson was just as good this year, if not better, than his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Rays – his best season prior to joining the Phils. A season in which he won AL rookie-of-the-year.

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Let’s look at Hellickson then, and now:

  • 2011: 189 IP, 128 ERA+, 4.44 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 117/72 K/BB
  • 2016: 189 IP, 111 ERA+, 3.98 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 154/45 K/BB

He walked less batters, struck out more, and relied on the guys around him, less. He showed that he would’ve at worst, been a solid top-four rotation arm for many teams down the stretch.

The team likes like Jeremy Hellickson. There’s likely a lot of teams regretting not obtaining the services of Hellickson prior to this seasons trade deadline. And it’s easy to understand, he’s a decent pitcher.

But with a projected salary of $17.2 million – the team may be better off without, Hellickson.

The team  would receive a draft pick as compensation at the end of the first round should Hellickson leave the one year offer on the table and sign elsewhere.

That’s the better route for the Phils here.

Team Perspective

The club still has control of starter Charlie Morton, if they choose to pickup his $9.5 million option. Adam Morgan showed some progress down the stretch while pitching to A.J Ellis. Jake Thompson showed promise after a slow start. Alec Asher even put together some quality starts down the stretch.

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And the future is still bright for staff leaders Jared Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, and (hurt, but hopefully returning) Aaron Nola.

The team still has a highly regarded farm system, fairly deep with prospects. So yes, the Phillies do have other options.

Whether it’s Morton and four youngsters, a veteran via trade and four youngsters, or even just five promising youngsters – the team has flexibility in the event of not retaining Hellickson.

On the surface, Hellickson is a serviceable starter. The going rate of starting pitching nowadays is evidence he’ll get his money one way or another.

However, with next year being his age 30 season, it’s easy to assume he’d prefer a long term contract.

Next: Phillies 40-Man Roster Crunch

It’s also easy to assume that having an additional first round pick – over a league average, pricey $17.2 million (at minimum), 30 year-old starting pitcher – would be an easy choice for the still rebuilding Phillies.

However the situation unfolds – Jeremy Hellickson sure is sitting pretty heading into free agency.

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