Post first appeared on phillyinfluencer.com on Aug. 30, 2016.
The news came down on Sunday that Philadelphia Phillies top starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was pulled off of waivers. Jim Salisbury reported that an unknown team claimed Hellickson, but the Phillies then pulled him off waivers after not reaching a deal with said team.
This move by the Phillies means that Hellickson will remain a member of the ball club for the remainder of the 2016 season before coming a free agent. However, the is still worth something to the team after the season is said and done as the Phillies have the ability to make a qualifying offer on Hellickson and if he chooses to decline and sign elsewhere, the Phillies would then receive a compensation pick in next year’s draft.
The question is, what is Hellickson’s future with the NL East club beyond this season?
The answer is: I think he’ll be back.
The scenario facing general manager Matt Klentak and the Phillies front office is that a qualifying offer to Hellickson would most likely be roughly one-year for $15-$17 million. If they chose not to give something as sweet that is still a qualifying offer, they would get some compensation for losing Hellickson. However, is a 2017 draft pick worth losing the top pitcher in the rotation?
Coming in to this season the world knew that Hellickson was the “ace” of the young starting staff. He certainly hasn’t had stereotypical top of the rotation stuff. According to MLB.com, Hellickson is 10-8 with a 3.80 ERA in 26 starts. He has 131 strikeouts this year as well.
With that being said, it is still the best season any Phillies starting pitcher is having. Others have had better stretches, but Hellickson has managed to stay healthy and has eaten up innings for the Phillies; he’s logged 154 so far the season. He is on pace to pitch the most innings in a single season in his big league career.
Aside from 2014, Hellickson has started at least 25 games and has logged over 140 innings each season. He has a proved track record of being a stable workhorse for a team, which is exactly what the Phillies need next year in its starting rotation which right now looks very unclear.
With all the injuries the rotation has seen Charlie Morton, Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Jake Thompson, and Jared Eickhoff, just to name a few of the young arms in the starting staff. Without knowing what will transpire this offseason, it is safe to say the Phillies starting rotation will be young and mostly inexperienced. It could use one consistency, especially at the top, and that should be Hellickson in 2017.
But for how much? Well, that’s what they pay Klentak the big bucks for.