If the Phillies really are trying to move Hellickson, the Orioles should go after him. They’re not going to get a top-of-the-market starter, and most other starters aren’t worth acquiring. Hellickson is one of the few guys who is not only obtainable but would also be a big improvement to the rotation.

By Michael Donovan

If Phillies’ right-hander Jeremy Hellickson gets traded at the August deadling, don’t be surprised if he’s shipped to the Baltimore Orioles.

They are hot for him!

Coming into the 2016 season, Hellickson was struggling. After two excellent 2011-12 seasons in Tampa where he posted ERAs of 2.95 and 3.10, Hellickson took a nosedive. He finished with ERAs of 5.17, 4.52, and 4.62 in 2013-15 respectively, and was picked up by Philly this year on a one-year deal.

The 29-year-old righty was getting similar results in 2016 until the past few weeks. Hellickson has allowed one run apiece in each of his last three starts, and he’s lowered his season ERA to 3.92.

In fact, if anything, there’s reason to believe that three-year run from 2013-2015 was unlucky. Amazingly, his two worst seasons in terms of FIP and xFIP out of the last five were actually those two great years in 2011 and 2012. Since then, his peripherals have actually improved, with an xFIP hovering around 4.10 even though his ERAs have been considerably higher.

If Hellickson is moved, he shouldn’t command a huge price in the trade market because he’s just a rental. Some teams might be concerned about his track record prior to this season. That’s a real “if”, though, because the Phillies have a few reasons they might want to keep him.

First of all, the way he’s pitching he may be a candidate for a qualifying offer. If the Phillies feel that a first-round pick is more valuable than whatever they’d be getting in a trade, it would make sense to hang onto him.

Philly is also a team that has their eye on competing soon, as their prospects like J.P. Crawford graduate to the majors. Considering their payroll is about $60 million less than last season (how is that even possible?), they can afford to throw $17 million or so in Hellickson’s direction. It won’t cripple them if he takes it.

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