Phillies rumors: Jeremy Hellickson trade speculation heating up again

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May 14, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trade speculation surrounds the Phillies every season during their rebuild, and once again the speculation has focused on starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.

The Phillies once again seem headed towards a losing record with a 14-21 record to start the season. This time last year they were 20-15 but fell off the map entirely by the end of June. Trade rumors followed the team last season and they are getting off to an early start this year.

Once again the trade speculation is centering on starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that the team will listen to trade offers for Hellickson at the deadline this year. Here is what Cafardo had to say about it:

"Phillies personnel have made it known they’ll listen on Hellickson in trade talks. Philadelphia re-signed Hellickson (4-1, 3.49 ERA) with the idea of using him to acquire more prospects before the trading deadline."

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Philadelphia actually had a trade in place last year for Hellickson with the Miami Marlins for first-base prospect Josh Naylor. However, the trade fell apart when the Padres agreed to take Colin Rea back after failing to disclose he was injured.

This season, Hellickson has a 3.71 ERA (115 ERA+) and a 1.099 WHIP through his first eight starts.

He had a 1.80 ERA in April, but it hasn’t carried over to May with a 7.90 ERA through three starts so far this month. Hellickson’s 5.63 FIP and .223 batting average against balls in play indicate his numbers may rise as the season goes on.

Mixe Axisa of CBS Sports wrote that even though Hellickson’s numbers can and probably will rise, someone will still come knocking for Hellickson:

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"For the Phillies, trading Hellickson before the BABIP correction would be preferable, but teams are not stupid. They know what’s coming. Hellickson is a veteran with a long track record. That said, pitching is always in demand, and it only takes one desperate team to jump into the race and blow the Phillies away with a trade offer. They should have no trouble finding suitors."

The 30-year old is on a one-year deal after signing Philadelphia’s qualifying offer during the offseason. That offers potential trade partners flexibility with Hellickson as they don’t have to commit any long-term money to him.

Philadelphia is also in a bind with Hellickson because they cannot offer him another qualifying offer thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement. This forces the team’s hand as they have to trade him now if they want to get any compensation for losing him.

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Jon Stolnis of the Good Phight offered up another option for the team with Hellickson. He said Philadelphia could offer Hellickson a two or three-year extension to be a stable veteran option in a rotation loaded with young pitchers with question marks on their heads. These rumors make it seem like the team isn’t committed to one option over another.

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