1:02pm: Hellickson tells Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register that he has indeed opted to retire. He’d have required another surgery to repair his shoulder and opted against the arduous process of rehabilitating from that procedure. Best wishes to Hellickson in his post-playing days.
11:24am: Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson isn’t likely to pitch in the upcoming season, Craig Mish of FNTSY Sports Radio reports (via Twitter). The 32-year-old righty battled shoulder problems for much of the 2019 season with the Nationals and suffered an offseason setback in rehabbing the injury.
Hellickson proved to be a shrewed minor league pickup for the Nats in 2018, tossing 91 1/3 innings of 3.45 ERA ball over the course of 19 starts. That showing earned him a big league deal to return to the Nationals late last winter, but his shoulder woes limited him to 39 innings, during which time he was tagged for 27 runs (6.23 ERA) on 47 hits and 20 walks with 30 strikeouts. His final pitch of the season came on May 19.
What’s next for Hellickson remains unclear. He could certainly rehab the issue between now and the offseason in hopes of pursuing a minor league deal and another comeback effort next winter. Then again, Mish at least implies that the righty has contemplated calling it a career.
Whatever route he takes, Hellickson will have plenty of fond memories on which to look back. A fourth-round pick by the (Devil) Rays back in 2005, he burst onto the scene and won American League Rookie of the Year honors in 2011 when he racked up 189 innings with a 2.95 ERA. Hellickson was similarly excellent the following season, and although he endured some rough seasons in the next couple of years, he also enjoyed a solid bounceback effort with the 2016 Phillies in addition to his strong work with the ’18 Nats.
All told, Hellickson has pitched 1269 1/3 innings in the big leagues, compiling a 76-75 record and a 4.13 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and 1.3 HR/9 along the way. Hellickson never made an All-Star team but did win a Gold Glove Award in 2012 and took home a World Series ring as a member of the 2019 Nationals. He’s earned more than $35MM in his career to date when factoring in his above-slot $500K bonus from the ’05 draft. Perhaps that’s not quite the career that he and many onlookers hoped for when he was ranked a top 10 overall prospect and subsequently won Rookie of the Year honors, but it’s a career that virtually any player would be thrilled to call his own.