Currently holding on to the second Wild Card spot, while only being 4.5 games back of the Washington Nationals for the division lead, it appears as if the Miami Marlins are on the verge of making a trade within their division for starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies. For a team that is still in rebuilding mode, in fourth place in the National League East, and 13.5 games out of the division, this comes as no surprise. The Philadelphia Phillies have been trying to re-build over the past three years, trying to get themselves back to post-season contention with the use of young talent that can be developed within the organization and brought to fruition on the field.
Jeremy Hellickson has been the ace of this year’s staff, as well as the veteran presence in the rotation. Hellickson has the second-lowest ERA among Phillies starters this year (3.84) only trailing Vince Velasquez’s 3.34 ERA. He has 106 strikeouts this season, a 1.16 WHIP, and hitters are only hitting .247 against him. Hellickson’s contract expires at the end of this season, as he was only signed to the Phillies for one year at the start of the season. He turned 29 this season, his sixth full season at the MLB-level. His current 3.84 ERA is his lowest since 2012 and his 8.0 K/9 is his best since he became a full-time starter.
If Hellickson is to slide into the Miami Marlins rotation, he would fit nicely behind Jose Fernandez, who leads the Marlins with his 2.54 ERA. Hellickson would most likely slide into the number two spot in the rotation, and move Justin Nicolino to the bullpen as a long reliever.
For the Miami Marlins to pull this trade off, they would have to give up at least one of their top two prospects. Tyler Kolek is their top-ranked prospect, but he has not pitched this year after suffering from Tommy-John surgery. Their next ranked prospect is first baseman Josh Naylor. This season, Naylor is batting .265 with .433 slugging and .748 OPS. He has hit 24 doubles and two triples, along with nine home runs this season. He would most assuredly need to be a part of any deal the Phillies make with the Marlins. Picking him up in this trade could be key for the Phillies, who will finally have Ryan Howard off their payroll after the 2016 season, so Naylor could create competition for Tommy Joseph, who is their current first baseman.
The Phillies and Marlins start a three-game series with each other on Monday, with Hellickson set to make the start in the opening game. It could be his last in a Phillies uniform; by the end of the series he could be sitting across the diamond in the home team’s dugout instead of the visitor’s