Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson was claimed on revocable waivers sometime this month, but the Phillies and the claiming team could not work out a trade, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Philadelphia pulled Hellickson off waivers as a result, meaning he’ll remain with the club for the rest of the season.
Hellickson has drawn interest from contenders throughout the summer, but the Phillies clearly haven’t been in any hurry to move on from him.
“The reason we went out and acquired him last offseason is to provide stability to our rotation and mentor our young pitchers. I think he’s been outstanding in that role,” general manager Matt Klentak said after the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline passed without a Hellickson deal.
Hellickson, whom the Phillies acquired from the Diamondbacks in the offseason for minor league pitcher Sam McWilliams, has experienced a bounce-back year. After three straight seasons of struggling to prevent runs, the former top prospect and 2011 American League Rookie of the Year with the Rays has posted a 3.80 ERA, 7.66 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 over 154 innings. At 29, he has also served as the veteran anchor to a young pitching staff, as Klentak mentioned.
Although he’s an impending free agent, the Phillies could still re-sign Hellickson or receive value for him if he heads elsewhere over the winter. Philadelphia would first have to tender Hellickson a qualifying offer, which will be worth an estimated $16.7MM – more than double his current salary of $7MM. If he rejects the offer, the Phillies would receive a first-round pick as compensation. There’s no guarantee the qualifying offer system will stick around in the next collective bargaining agreement, though a new CBA might not be in place when QOs are tendered early this offseason. For now, Hellickson is a good bet to reject a potential qualifying offer and hit a free agent market that will be largely devoid of quality starters.