I have speculated on here that if the Rays do trade a starting pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson is the one most likely to be moved. Hellickson is the one pitcher that has a good mix of peaking talent and a pricetag that might not scare away other teams.

Well, Rays’ consigliere Ken Rosenthal offers another reason why the Rays may prefer to trade Hellickson: Scott Boras.

Why would the Rays trade him, as opposed to a more expensive pitcher such as Shields? Well, Hellickson is the only Rays starter represented by Scott Boras, which means he is unlikely to sign a club-friendly extension anytime soon.

Keep in mind that Rosenthal is one of the few national media writers with connections within the Rays organization. While most in the media are focusing on James Shields and David Price, it’s possible that the Rays gently suggested that Hellickson was available in order to drum-up interest in their young right-hander.

On top of that, the column by Rosenthal reads like Hellickson’s resume, or something Boras would present to teams if Hellboy were a free agent.

Will other teams bite? We’ll see. But don’t be surprised if we start hearing rumors of teams targeting Hellickson.

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16 Comments

  1. Dave L says:

    Ken Rosenthal makes the case why Hellickson is so valuable. A I noted earlier he had the lowest run support in the AL for full time starters.

    Helli's not sexy because he doesn't get alot of K's but hes a walking breathing pitching BABIP machine proving year after year that where the batted ball goes isn't pure luck.

    He's just hard to get a clean shot at.

    to quote Rosenthal-

    "But he’s still only 25, and still quite affordable. He is not eligible for arbitration until 2014, and not eligible for free agency until after the ‘16 season"

    So until 2016 it doesnt matter if his agent is Scott Boras or a trained seal.

    Why would the Rays trade a guy who cost only half a mil last year who had a lower ERA than both Price and Sheilds the past 2 years yet will cost 5% to 10% of what they will in 2013?

    This is hot stove navel gazing IMO. AF would have to be insane to trade Helli at this point.

    Remember in any trade involving the Rays under this regime ask yourself, is this trade going to result in our salary commitments for the next 3 years to be substatially lower?

    Unless the answer is a resounding YES! Its a non starter.

    Only exception is if we think he's damaged goods and no one thinks that.

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    • Mark says:

      It's because Boras is his client. He's known for fighting for expensive contracts, and now that Hellickson has ROY and a Gold Glove, he's going to cost a lot going into his arbitration years than he's normally worth and will most likely not sign a contract that could potentially buyout his arb years.

      Even though there is value in a pitcher like Hellboy who pitches to contact and induces weak contact rates. I'd rather have a strikeout artist on the mound like Archer than to pay for Hellickson in his arbitration years with no hope to buy em out. If we sell him now coming off two years of back-to-back accolades and still has his high prospect status in check, we could get a lot back. I'm sure there are a bunch of NL teams that would yearn for a guy like Hellickson pitching for them.

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      • Dave L says:

        So the logic is that with Boras as his agent, he wont sign a contract which undervalues Helli and favors the Rays during the Rays years of control which means he will go the arbitration route until 2016 at which point we willl obviously lose him as we do all good players once they hit the open market.

        So if Niemann got $2.75M what will Helli get in 2013? Maybe $3.5 to $4.5mil? I am not an expert in arb. numbers but he is well worth it. His consistancy is incredible. His ERA is lower than out 2 top dogs since he's been here. So if he has another great year then his number grows but its still worth if for a guy who is a solid #2 starter,ie. great ERA but not able to consistantly get to late innings and 200+ per year.

        Next year I expect him to continue to improve and his arbitration number will move upward commensurate with his value until he hits the open market and the numbers get crazy.

        As Orson Welles once intoned 'we shall sell no wine before its time'

        Trading Sheilds before spring 50%
        Trading Price before spring 1%
        Trading Helli before spring 3%

        We shall see thats the nice thing about hot stove

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      • Tom says:

        I think the Rays fear Hellickson's low babip is unsustainable and they would be open to dealing him while his value is high.

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        • Dave L says:

          So 70 starts and a very consistant era of low 3's....

          He's just lucky lets dump him cause he's not a flamethrower?

          If your rotation and pen is full of power pitchers Helli is the perfect compliment.

          Every team in baseball is salavating at the thought of the rays trading Jeremy.

          Luckily our GM is named Andrew not Tom or Mark.....or Cork?

          Put a marker on this one guys. I am apparently this Iowa boys biggest fan. I love his skills, demeanor, attitude.

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          • Dustin says:

            I figure a lot of us like Hellboy, but concerns about an unsustainably low BABIP are not unreasonable. Unless he's a hard-throwing knuckleballer in disguise, his peripherals suggest regression. He's had two seasons now of beating the BABIP odds, which may indicate that (like a good knuckleballer) there's something he's doing that isn't captured by the numbers. Or, it might mean that he's been lucky, and backed up by a pretty good defense, for two years in a row. Two seasons isn't really a large enough sample size to say for sure. The data just raise doubts about whether or not this level of performance can be sustained. That doesn't mean Hellickson won't continue to be a good pitcher, but it does at least raise the possibility that he's a good "sell high" candidate.

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          • Tom says:

            I do not think anyone wants to "dump" Hellboy but at this point we have 6 solid starting pitchers and 3 Big holes in the line up so it makes sense to trade 1 of the starting pitchers. I think the a strong case has been made by Cork, Mark, and Dustin that he may be a strong candidate to be the one traded.

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  2. Ken says:

    I am wondering if anyone knows the answer to this question, does Cobb have any options left to be sent back to AAA without exposing him to waivers? If yes, then it would be possible to keep all 8 SP's. The five SP's that started in 2012 (David, James, Hellboy, Moore, and Jeff) could start in 2013 with Cobb and Archer as backup in AAA in case of injury. Or if Cobb out of options, that would mean we would have to consider a 6 man rotation if we don't trade one of our SP's. If Cobb is out of options, I don't see how we don't trade one of our starters.

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  3. Beazy says:

    I just wanted to comment, "thanks Cork for keeping us in-the-know with Rays baseball!"

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  4. Don says:

    I don't care which pitcher(s) they trade (Hellboy & Price would not be my 'tchoices) But if the Rays DON" unload some of this GOOD pitching for GOOD/GREAT hitting AF is a moron, I dont care who in baseball (experts?) that say otherwise....

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  5. Nathan says:

    I see all the talk about an "unsustainable" BABIP for Hellboy. There are pitchers who, over their entire career, have been under the league average. Look up Greg Maddux. Now don't jump down my throat as I'm not saying Hellickson is Greg Maddux. But, they both change speeds and keep batters off balance. The reason Hellickson's BABIP is so low as that the batters are having a hard time squaring him up. Weak ground balls and pop ups!! We would be INSANE to trade this guy with that many years of control left. As negative as Don can be on this site, he's right on this one. We HAVE to trade for bats. I felt we missed the boat last year when the Reds shipped Alonso (1B,.273), Grandal (C, .297) and Volquez to the Padres for Latos. That's the kind of trade we need for Shields.

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  6. I am wondering if anyone knows the answer to this question, does Cobb have any options left to be sent back to AAA without exposing him to waivers? If yes, then it would be possible to keep all 8 SP's. The five SP's that started in 2012 (David, James, Hellboy, Moore, and Jeff) could start in 2013 with Cobb and Archer as backup in AAA in case of injury. Or if Cobb out of options, that would mean we would have to consider a 6 man rotation if we don't trade one of our SP's. If Cobb is out of options, I don't see how we don't trade one of our starters.

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  7. Ricky C says:

    I would say there are two reasons that Helli could be the one dealt. First is because Cobb and Helli are VERY similar pitchers and the return for Helli will be more than the return for Cobb. Second, b/c he is young and not a FA until '16 and no arb until '14 we can realistically ask for the moon and stars simply b/c any team that acquires Helli will have him for such a long time.

    On top of that, I really believe the Rays like having Shields as a veteran anchor in the rotation.

    Honestly I have to say. I don't have a preference as long as we don't settle with our return package. We are in the position of strength with all of the pitching we have, so if/when we do make a deal we should get a gigantic return coming back

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