It’s not entirely surprising to see some kind of move on Hellickson, who has endured a miserable start to the season. The 32-year-old has overseen a sudden walk spike, issuing twenty in 39 innings, while dropping a tick on his average fastball and turning in a personal-low 6.0% swinging-strike rate.
Unsurprisingly, the results haven’t been there. Hellickson has a 6.23 ERA that is more or less supported by ERA estimators. The one bright spot is a strong 27.3% soft-contact rate, though that’s more than offset by the fact that Hellickson has already coughed up nine long balls.
Hellickson joins Anibal Sanchez on the injured list, leaving the Nats in a bit of a bind. Erick Fedde is taking the ball tonight; the club will need to find another option to replace Hellickson on Friday. Kyle McGowin and Austin Voth appear the two likeliest candidates.
Notably, Hellickson’s contract contains a hefty incentives package tied directly to the number of games he starts. He has already racked up $600K in extra earnings. With his next start, Hellickson would take down another $200K. The deal maxes out at $4MM in incentives, which would be reached at thirty starts.