Phillies Complete Deal for Arizona’s Hellickson

MLBTR reported that Jim Salisbury tweeted that the Phillies and D’Backs are working on a trade that would bring RHP Jeremy Hellickson to Philaelphia.  He is in the last year of arbitration and becomes a first time free agent in 2017.  His agent has negotiated deals to avoid arbitration the past two seasons.  This is probably just a one year acquisition since his agent is Scott Boras.

Todd Zolecki tweeted that the trade is being finalized for a Phillies’ low level minor leaguer, since reported to be Sam McWilliams.  (Damn! I like McWilliams.)

54 thoughts on “Phillies Complete Deal for Arizona’s Hellickson

  1. im sorry, but thats awful. how can that be the first trade a new gm makes? you can sign any crappy pitcher off the street to give you what Hellickson will.

    1. Yeah, I guess I don’t really get the need to trade for Hellickson. McWilliams is all projection, but he made good on some of that projection last year. I don’t see what Hellickson does except fill space, and we could find a FA to do that.

  2. It is very curious that they gave up a prospect for a guy they could have matched on the FA market for nothing, player wise. Hellickson is young and was the ROY 4 years ago, but you can easily duplicate what he brings. So that is my reason for questioning it. The rumor that they are in on Ozuna is a good one, of course depending on what they have to give up. Marlins may be looking just to dump him. That is a lottery ticket I would buy.

  3. If hellickson has a decent year, we could bet a better prospect at the deadline. McWilliams k rate is abysmal at rookie ball, let’s not overreact here.

    1. Agreed. Good deal for the Phillies if Hellickson can stay healthy enough for 25 starts. At $6.5 and the Phillies presumed willingness to eat his contract if necessary. Hellickson can easily fill innings before being shipped for a prospect of comparable value to McWilliams.

      Hellickson is the type of pitcher the Phillies were liking looking for on the free agent market. Now they got one of their guys for McWilliams.

      Good trade.

    2. what could lead him to having a decent year on this terrible team after 3 straight bad years?
      im not saying McWilliams was a great prospect- but would note his strikeout rate this year is about equal to to Hellickson’s for his MLB career.
      plus it was suggested previously that Hellickson might get non-tendered so you could have possibly had him for nothing.

      1. Hellickson is only one part of a multi-part answer for the Phillies. He’s a vet who can throw 160-180 respectable innings at the big league level. If he could accomplish that for his first 16 starts or so, he could easily be flipped for a prospect comparable to McWilliams. The Phillies are in position to take on salary of players who could possibly increase their trade value in 2016. Hellickson fits the mold. Not flashy, but I like the deal

      2. Helickson had a 3.86 ERA in the 2nd half of last year, after a horrific 1st month of the season. His overall FIP was higher than his ERA. If he could pitch the 1st half of next season at the same level he pitched the 2nd half of last year, the Phillies could flip him for a prospect that is much better than McWilliams. If he pitched to a 3.86 he might get us the same kind of return Mike Leake got for the Reds (a top 10 org prospect). Shoot, even Dan Haren , whos done nothing for 5 years, got the Marlins a top 30 org prospect.

        1. Correction: I meant to write that his FIP was lower than his ERA. His FIP has been lower than his ERA the last 3 years. If he could somehow figure out how to limit the HRs, he could remake his value.

      3. Even if their rates are the same there’s a big difference between striking out major leagues compared to guys in rookie ball.

      4. Unless you’re strictly looking a w-l record, he can have a decent year on a bad team. Shelby Miller had a solid year with the Braves except for his record. If fact, since he’s pitched for an average team in Arizona, you’re argument can be used to explain why his numbers are average.

        I do have to say that comparing K-rates between a major leaguer and a pitcher in rookie ball doesn’t bolster your argument. I would also have to see who was suggesting that Hellickson would be non-tendered. His 2015 season wasn’t terrible and no gm in their right mind would non-tender a healthy major pitcher coming off an average season.

        Actually, if you look at his number in 2015 vs. his ROY campaign, the numbers are actually close. His FIP is idential and his K rate is better. Biggest difference is number of hits/9 and his ERA. Based on the FIP, how much do you attribute to Arizona’s defense vs. TB?

        I don’t expect Hellickson to be more than an average inning-eater for the team in 2016 but think the loss of McWilliams is a fair price to pay to find out.

  4. I like Sam McWilliams as well, but it never ceases to amaze me how angry everyone gets the minute the Phillies trade any player that can remotely be considered a prospect. All the while being jealous of every trade other teams make. McWilliams isn’t even considered a top 20 prospect in our system but somehow this is a “terrible” trade. SMH.

  5. I don’t understand. Sure, trading a lottery ticket for a mediocre MLB player happens all the time, but I don’t understand why the Phillies preferred to acquire innings by trading a lottery ticket instead of grabbing cheap free agents.
    Maybe McClure sees a tweak he can make for Hellickson? Maybe they just didn’t think much of McWilliams?
    I don’t get it, but it’s not a big deal.

  6. I think it’s a good deal. McWilliams may become a something but the odds are 50/50. Hellickson had success a few years ago. Could he recover his success mid year so we can flip him? He’s a one year guy. No FAs are signing for $6M one year deals unless they really stink. Hellickson is a good one year gamble and McWilliams is behind lots of other pitchers in our system and is in the GCL, a long way off.

  7. New general manager Matt Klentak said. “We offer an opportunity to players to come in and get back to the form they’ve shown in the past.”.
    Doug Fister next?

    1. I think Edwin Jackson makes so much sense for this club. Get him on the cheap and then sign one of the more reliable inning eating SPs.

      1. Jackson actually could be signed for less then Fister.
        Do not think he will get his latest AAV, so he could be a $8/9M AAV.
        And do not think he will sign for more then one year.

        1. Romus – I’m thinking much, much cheaper than $8-9 AAV. Jackson was demoted to bullpen duty by the Cubs last season before being released in late July. Atlanta eventually signed him, but again, he remained in the pen. I suspect he’ll be lucky to find a guaranteed deal. Enter the Phillies who can offer a guaranteed 1-yr deal – maybe in the $2-3mm range. Supplementing that offer is a suggestion the Phillies can make that most other clubs would not – offer him a shot at competing for a place in the starting rotation.

          1. Steve….he could be obtained for less than that. I am sure he will try to get back to the effectiveness he had 4/5 years ago, if that is possible Others have taken dips in contracts at a higher percentage hoping for a one-year bounce back season.

    2. Don’t like this deal as McWilliams(20 years old) was showing promise and improved quite a bit in 2015. A pitcher of Hellickson’s caliber could have been picked up through Free Agency quite easily.

  8. Everyone keep saying they could get a free agent who are you signing for 1 year at 6 million? Keep in mind this was a 99 loss club next year. Healthy pitchers similar to Hellickson are not signing cheap 1 year deals with the Phillies. That is what everyone is missing. Hellickson is healthy and a one 1 year deal. That is what is attractive about him. It is going to be interesting to see the type of pitchers that sign one year deals this free agent season and how they compare to Hellickson. (how healthy are they, how good are they and how much they sign for) then look at the teams they sign with. Any comparable pitchers to him that are healthy signing for similar money on a last place team? I doubt it. This is a good deal.

    1. Well said Nick. This is a nice deal. Not to mention that McWilliams is an exceptional long shot to ever contribute a single inning to the major league club. There’s a decent chance that Hellickson gives us 100 innings of decent but uninspiring pitching and then is shipped at the deadline for a prospect who is comparable or even better than Hellickson. There’s nothing to dislike about this deal

          1. With all the injuries that happen to pitchers just getting somone who is competent enough to get through 5 or 6 innings has value. Even if all he would bring back is two lottery tickets or an upper level back end starter/possible bullpen guy that’s better than what was given up.

  9. Agree with those above who point out that the Phillies aren’t just signing pitchers off of the FA market similar to what they get with Hellickson. What they will get in the FA market is guys coming off injury that are complete wildcards or they are signing them for more that 1-year. It’s not like there are dozens of comparable pitchers out there just waiting for the Phillies to come calling.

    While the Phillies move through the rebuild process they still need to put a team on the field that can compete. Nothing worse for their young prospects then to make it a miserable experience coming to the park everyday.

    IF Hellickson is terrible, then they lose $6m for the year, if he is good, they have a pitcher that will get interest at the trade deadline that they can then move for someone comparable to what they gave up. Giving up a top 20-30 prospect like McWilliams is a small price to pay.

    This is a prospect dedicated site so its not surprising that trading away one of those prospects gets a reaction.

    1. I’m not sure why people some people are asserting that it was imperative to get a guy who we only have for 1 year. If we signed a comparable FA for 2 years, would it be so bad? We’re not the Marlins here. The team has shown recently that they will eat money to acquire prospects, so it should follow that they wouldn’t mind spending money to keep prospects.

      What this tells me is that either the Phillies don’t think McWilliams has much of a chance to develop major league secondary pitches and/or they think Hellickson will pitch better than he has for the last three years.

      1. … Or Both. Maybe they like Helickson better than the options they anticipate will be available and maybe they think McWilliams is an insignificant price to pay to ensure that they get their target.

    2. “IF Hellickson is terrible, then they lose $6m for the year, if he is good…”

      If Hellickson is terrible they lose $6M PLUS McWilliams. Don’t forget that the prospect is part of the cost.

      I have seen McWilliams pitch. Very few if any of the people posting opinions here can say that. I do NOT like the trade. BUT, that doesn’t mean I think it’s a bad trade or a good trade.

      I’ve seen the improvement the past two years in his velocity and his statistical peripherals. The staff broke down his delivery and rebuilt it. Additionally, he would be entering his junior season in college. He has logged very few innings (58 in two pro seasons) on his arm.

      Some scouting reports off Twitter over the weekend –

      Josh Norris ‏@jnorris427 Nov 14 Raleigh, NC
      Scout’s take on Sam McWilliams: 91-93 FB with big CB and slurvy SL. Solid above-avg changeup. Ceiling of No. 3-4 starter. #DBacks #Phillies

      Josh Norris ‏@jnorris427 Nov 14 Raleigh, NC
      Another evaluator checks in on McWilliams: He saw 93-95 FB and improving feel for a four-pitch mix. Ceiling of No. 4. #DBacks #Phillies

      Hellickson fills a need. I’m just sorry that McWilliams was the cost.

  10. Let me throw out this wild situation. What if somehow Hellickson rediscovers his first 3 years and not the last 3? Let’s say he is not traded this year. He does well enough that the Phillies make a Qualifying Offer. They can either sign him or lose him for what amounts to a 2nd round draft pick. Under that scenario, they get a lot for McWilliams who was an 8th rounder in GCL this year and at least 5 years away from MLB.

    I know it’s probably a flawed scenario but interested in thoughts.

    1. I’m not sure that the Helickson of 2011, would be good enough for the qualifying offer, now that it has been shown some players will accept the offer. I think teams will be more reluctant to make the Q/O for #4 and 5 starters now. I think he would need to have a career year to receive the Q/O.

  11. I am surprised by the amount of negative comments on this board. 1. McWilliams is a none factor. He’s an 8th round pick with middling results during 2 stints in the GCL. The chances he develops into an impact arm for a MLB team are minuscule. 2. The Phillies don’t need 1 or 2 MLB arms this year, they need 3 or 4. Only 94 starters had 140+ ip last year. MLB teams averaged 1 200+ ip pitcher, 1 180+ ip pitcher and 1 150+ ip pitcher. The limits on innings for young pitchers and the rash of arm injuries has created the need for 7 or 8 starters on every team. Who are the Phillies top 8 MLB ready pitchers next year?
    1. Nola (won’t be pushed to 200ip next year)
    2. Eickhoff (same as above and let’s see how he does 2nd time through teams this season)
    3. Morgan (left handed filler at this point)
    4. Asher (bad stats last year, but still has potential as back end starter)
    5. S. Gonzalez (brutal era, better peripherals than Morgan and Asher)
    6. Buchanan (not much hope left here)
    7. Harrison (I’m betting on that insurance pay out)
    8. Thompson (he’ll probably get called up mid-season, no reason to start his clock early)
    I doubt any of the other prospects will get serious consideration for a call up next year (maybe Eflin).
    So, the Phillies need at least 3, maybe 4, starters next year that can give them 100+ innings. They do not want to give a stop gap stater more than 1 or 2 years or overpay too much to attract them. Hellickson is a perfect fit. That is all.

    1. This deal sounds like a new way of doing business for the Phillies.Instead of picking up some 30 plus pitcher off the free agent market,overpriced,and possibly lose a draft choice,why not rent.Then flip him to a contender at the trade deadline.
      The Phillies ought to check with the Padres I hear Tyson Ross may be available. He’s the same age as Hellickson,similar salary,big upside.San Diego seems to want to dump salary maybe they can get Andrew Cashner if not Ross.
      Those guys would certainly be an upgrade over Williams and Harang.

      1. That’s a very good idea. Padres could be looking to sell salary for a c prospect. Realize also that both relief pitchers picked up had high BABIP and those things represent possible upside potential in the analytics world because they assume things go back to norm. New philosophy. I like it

  12. To quote Wimpy, from Popeye fame, “I’d rather pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today.” They got their hamburger, Hellickson, and they might have to pay for him later, McWilliams. It will be more like Friday than Tuesday but a lot of things can go wrong with a 6’7″ HS’er who spent the last 2 years in the GCL. I love McWilliams but hopefully the draft and Int’l signings will make us forget about Sam by Monday.

  13. Jim Peyton, you saw Sam McWilliams more than anyone on the board and what are your thoughts on McWilliams potential?

    1. I answered this above to a 3up3kkk comment. In short (or maybe long), McWilliams’ potential is greater than his “back of the card” stats show. The staff completely broke down and rebuilt his delivery between 2014 and 2015. He showed markedly better improvement in 2015, and greater velocity on his FB. The scout quotes above highlight his improvement. They were also able to monitor his innings over the past two season, so there is probably a lot less wear and tear on his arm than most college starters entering their junior years. I wish we could have bought Hellickson for less (or at least different).

      1. Agree Jim, there was no need to trade any prospect for a pitcher Arizona did not want anyway. Hope the deal turns out good for both teams and both pitchers do well. Thanks for your answer as you are our man in Clearwater!

  14. Lots of talk about trading Ken Giles – just curious, what kind of return does everyone think the Phils would get for him if moved?

    1. Judging by what Bosox gave up I would venture 2 or even 3 or those kind of players ? Meaning, one high profile, and 2 others in low/low minors. While I do think Bosox overpaid – there is some merit to thinking Phils could get an attractive package.

    2. Not as much as Kimbrel commanded. Kimbrel is an established closer with several years of success, although his numbers started to trend downward in SD. Giles is new and has no MLB track record to gauge expectations. Another good season and maybe they can cash in on higher value next year. This is less informed opinion than it is SWAG, and it’s not very scientific at that.

Comments are closed.