SUNDAY: The contract comes with a $2MM salary in the majors and up to $4MM in incentives, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. It also features several opt-out chances. Beginning May 1, Hellickson will have an opportunity to exit the deal every 15 days.
SATURDAY: The club has made the signing official.
Presumably, Hellickson will have a strong shot at earning the fifth starter’s job with the Nats. The organization has been cited all winter as a possible pursuer of a rotation upgrade, though to this point it had not made a significant move. Washington had indicated it would like to see A.J. Cole, who is out of options, command a starting role. But he has not evidently not run away with things in camp, leaving the team open to adding another arm. The other top candidates for the job are prospect Erick Fedde and non-roster invitees Edwin Jackson and Tommy Milone.
Hellickson, who’ll soon turn 31, has had a quiet winter after taking a $17.2MM qualifying offer from the Phillies for the 2017 season. He struggled all year long, ending with a 5.43 ERA over 164 innings. Despite holding opponents to a .246 batting average on balls in play, Hellickson coughed up home runs at a rate of 1.9 per nine innings and saw his swinging-strike rate drop to 8.3% after sitting above ten percent in each of the prior three campaigns.
Of course, the former Rookie of the Year has had better days in prior seasons. He has never returned to the top-level output of his earliest seasons with the Rays, but Hellickson did turn in a quality 2016 effort with Philadelphia. He tallied 189 innings of 3.71 ERA ball in his 32 starts while recording 7.3 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9.