Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline arrived Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. without the Phillies making a deal.
Jeremy Hellickson, he stays.
David Hernandez, he stays.
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Jeanmar Gomez, he stays.
Vince Velasquez, he stays.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak was not immediately available for comment, but in the days and weeks leading up to the deadline, he stated numerous times that he would not make a trade just for the sake of doing so. He wanted value in return. Apparently, Klentak did not get the value he was seeking so he stood pat.
The Phillies could still make a trade in August, though players would first have to get through waivers and that's always iffy.
Given the need for starting pitching around baseball, it is somewhat surprising that the Phillies did not find a suitable trading partner for Hellickson. A number of teams made offers on Hellickson, according to sources, but the Phillies did not feel those offers measured up to the pitcher's value. The 29-year-old right-hander is 8-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 22 starts with the Phillies. He finished the month of July with a 2.34 ERA in six starts and gave up just four runs in his last three.
According to sources, the Phillies were down the road in negotiations for a deal that would have sent Hellickson to the Miami Marlins last week. That deal failed to materialize after the Marlins sought a second pitcher in the deal. The Marlins ended up acquiring pitchers Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from San Diego, though Rea has now been returned to the Padres after sustaining an injury in his first start.
Other teams interested in Hellickson included Baltimore, Toronto and Detroit.
Hellickson will be a free agent this winter. The Phillies believe they can ultimately get value for him in next June’s draft, but to do that they will have to offer him close to $17 million for 2017. That is where the qualifying offer for the coming offseason’s free agents is expected to fall. If Hellickson rejects the offer, the Phillies would get a pick after the first round. If he accepts the offer, he remains Phillies’ property for 2017 and the Phillies would not get a pick. The Phillies are betting that there will be enough interest in Hellickson in a weak market for free-agent pitching that he indeed will reject the offer. However, there are risks in the Phillies’ strategy. If Hellickson finishes this season poorly, his free-agent value could down and teams could back off. Also, his market could suffer if he receives a qualifying offer because teams don’t like to give up high draft picks.