Diamondbacks send Hellickson to Philadelphia

The Arizona Diamondbacks made some room in their accounting by trading starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Philadelphia Phillies for 20-year-old minor league right-handed pitcher Sam McWilliams, who has spent the last two seasons in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Hellickson is expected to help fill out the rebuilding Phillies rotation behind Aaron Nola (3.59 ERA) and Jerad Eickhoff (2.65 ERA).

The 27-year-old won the American League Rookie of the Year award with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 (2.95 ERA) and a solid follow-up campaign in 2012 (3.10 ERA).

Since then, Hellickson has struggled to keep up with early production. He posted a 5.17 ERA in 31 starts in 2013 and 4.52 ERA in 13 starts in 2014 before being traded to the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league shortstop Andrew Velazquez and outfielder Justin Williams.

This past season with the Diamondbacks, Hellickson pitched 146 innings, posting a 4.62 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 while missing parts of the season due to a hamstring issue.

Hellickson is projected to make $6.6MM in 2016 in his final season before free agency. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be targeting free agent starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo. While his addition would be considered an upgrade, signing him would cost the Diamondbacks their first round draft pick (No. 13 overall).

The Diamondbacks are also rumored to be targeting New York Yankees closer Andrew Miller in trade talks. Miller won the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award for posting a 2.04 ERA and getting 36 saves. He is entering the second year of his four-year, $35MM contract.

The Diamondbacks have also discussed a swap of second basemen with the Cincinnati Reds between Aaron Hill and Brandon Phillips. Hill has one year and $12MM remaining on his contract while Phillips has two years and $27MM remaining on his contract. Phillips (.282/.318/.385 with 20 homers, 25 steals over the past two seasons) would be seen as an instant upgrade at second base but as evident by the Hellickson trade, the Diamondbacks seem intent on unloading as much gilded dead weight as possible, so they can bring in someone else’s.


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Sports Kave senior writer

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