The Phillies and right-hander Jeremy Hellickson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal that will pay the offseason trade acquisition an even $7MM in 2016, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter). The Scott Boras client will top his $6.6MM projection (via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) by about six percent in his final trip through the arbitration process. Hellickson, 29 in April, is eligible for free agency next winter.
The D-backs acquired Hellickson in a trade with the Rays last offseason with the hope that he could return to the levels that saw him win the AL Rookie of the Year Award back in 2011 at the age of 24. However, while Hellickson remained healthier than he was in 2014, his overall results weren’t what the D-backs had envisioned. The right-hander posted a 4.62 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 42.4 percent ground-ball rate in his lone season with Arizona.
Philadelphia will, like the D-backs last offseason, take on Hellickson hoping that he can return to form but knowing that even if that scenario doesn’t play out, he’ll eat some innings for a young and inexperienced staff that could use some veteran depth. The price tag on Hellickson, financially speaking, might be a bit steeper than simply signing a veteran innings eater on the free-agent market — Philadelphia paid Aaron Harang $5MM last season, for instance — but Hellickson comes with more upside than many veteran innings eaters that might come with a lower cost. If he performs well this year, Hellickson could conceivably emerge as a July trade chip and net a useful piece for the Phillies’ future.
With Hellickson’s agreement reportedly in place, the Phillies have now avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players, as MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows. The Phillies came to terms with Jeanmar Gomez and Freddy Galvis over the past two days as well, while Peter Bourjos settled his case last month.