In the continuation of my series on some of the more likely possibilities to be traded away by the Phillies over these next two weeks prior to the August 1st MLB non-waiver trade deadline, the next look will be at perhaps the single most likely and highest-valued such asset.
Jeremy Hellickson was acquired by Phillies GM Matt Klentak back on December 14th, 2015 from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league pitcher Sam McWilliams.
Much as with those two veterans, Hellickson was brought in to eat up innings and bide a few more months for the many talented youngsters in the minor leagues system to more fully develop.
However, there was a difference with this acquisition. Hellickson was not an aged, mediocre talent. He was 28 years old at the time of the deal, and the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year and 2012 AL Gold Glove Award winner was in the prime of his career.
In other words, entering the final year of his contract, the right-hander fit perfectly with the plan to allow pitchers like Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, and Mark Appel to gain another three to four months of development , and then be flipped at the deadline for a price worth more than was required to obtain him.
Thanks to his performances over these first three and a half months, Hellickson is doing his part, making himself valuable to contenders looking to add an experienced arm for their playoff push and postseason run.
Hellickson is 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP, not "ace" marks, but he was never going to be sold in that way. He is a mid-back-end rotation starter in a contending rotation. He is performing effectively at that level.
The 4th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft out of an Iowa high school has allowed 107 hits over 111.2 innings with a 98/27 K:BB ratio, and has thrown 10 Quality Starts among his 19 outings this season.
So what contenders could use a young veteran starting pitcher with postseason experience? Pretty much every one of them.
What kind of price could Klentak be expected to bring back for Hellickson? That's a dicier question. He is not good enough to bring back a Top 50 prospect, especially as a rental pitcher in the final year of his contract.
However, as a healthy, experienced arm who could end up signing with the acquiring team and providing another handful of seasons, he should be able to bring back a Top 20 organizational prospect.