Phillies trade rumors: Royals targeting Jeremy Hellickson and Howie Kendrick?

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01: Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 1, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01: Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 1, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The Royals are reportedly interested in Phillies left fielder/infielder Howie Kendrick, while Jeremy Hellickson was scratched from Friday’s game.

The Phillies still have a few movable pieces for this year’s trade deadline with Jeremy Hellickson, Howie Kendrick, and Joaquin Benoit all possibilities for being traded. The likelihood of Hellickson and Kendrick being traded has increased significantly.

It started off with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reporting that the Kansas City Royals are looking for corner outfielder for their playoff run. He listed two options: Melky Cabrera of the White Sox and Kendrick. If they had the choice, the Royals would likely rather trade for Kendrick since the White Sox are in the division and any trade they make could bite them in the butt later down the road.

Kendrick was kept out of Friday night’s lineup after suffering a bruised hand Wednesday night when he was hit by a pitch. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported that Kendrick couldn’t take full swings during batting practice but the team will try again tomorrow. Manager Pete Mackanin told reporters that Kendrick will be available off the bench need be.

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Where things really start to heat up is the fact that Hellickson, who was slated to pitch Friday night, was scratched from his start. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Hellickson was scratched due to active trade talks and the fact that the mound at Citizen’s Bank Park is fairly wet tonight, so the club didn’t want to risk him getting injured.

There’s no word on which team is pursuing Hellickson, but it is clear someone wants him.

Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports said the Red Sox could be a potential match for Hellickson.

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Another option is that the Royals are targeting a Kendrick-Hellickson package. As mentioned before, they like Kendrick and they are still looking for another innings-eater down the stretch. Hellickson provides that – alebit not much else – and packaging the two together gets Philadelphia a better return and saves them the trouble of having to work out two separate trades. Meghan Montemurro of the News Journal reports that the Phils have no problem eating a significant portion of Hellickson’s remaining salary this season, giving them an even better return.

By combining the two and eating a lot of Hellickson and Kendrick’s salaries, Philadelphia should be able to get a mid-tier prospect in return from Kanasas City and perhaps a throw-in piece or two.

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However, this could all be one big bluff by GM Matt Klentak as he tries to drive up Hellickson’s trade value, like Jerry Colangelo did earlier this year with Jahlil Okafor of the Sixers. However, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and there is a lot of smoke right now.