This is the time of year where guys getting scratched just before game time gets a little suspicious.
That happened with Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson tonight, who was supposed to take the mound against the Atlanta Braves. Instead, he was held out of his start, apparently because trade talks with the soon-to-be free agent are heating up.
Apparently, the Brewers are one of the leading candidates to land him, according to one of MLB.com’s national reporters:
Source speculates Brewers and Royals as the two most likely landing spots for Hellickson.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 28, 2017
Like the trade for Anthony Swarzak, any deal for Hellickson would indicate more of a toe-in-the-water move than an all-in, jump-into-the-deep-end of trying to contend this year.
His overall numbers this year have been pretty bad, and there's no other way to spin it. He's put up a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts, but his FIP is an eye-popping 5.50, he's only struck out 13.8% of the batters he's faced this year, and his groundball rate of 35.1% seems like a really bad idea for Miller Park.
In his last start, the Brewers tagged him for 6 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings on July 22nd.
Still, the Brewers could probably get him for cheap, considering his $17 million salary after accepting a qualifying offer this year and his status as a pending free agent. The question is if he would perform any better than anyone currently in the rotation. Junior Guerra has continued to scuffle, but Zach Davies has appeared to turn things around in his past couple starts, including shutting down a Nationals lineup that crushed the Brewers to the tune of 8 home runs on Thursday.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs