MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Teams That Should Sell the Farm for Jeremy Hellickson
Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson is drawing a huge amount of interest in trade talks, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman—and any general manager who isn't calling Tampa Bay's Andrew Friedman to try and acquire him, frankly, shouldn't be a general manager.
Hellickson, 25, made 31 starts for the Rays in 2012, going 10-11 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 124 strikeouts over 177 innings of work.
Winner of the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year award and a Gold Glove recipient in 2012, Hellickson has a career mark of 27-21 to go along with an impressive 3.06 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in just over 400 innings—with the bulk of those innings coming in AL East play.
He's also under team control through the 2017 season.
So why would the Rays be looking to move someone with considerable upside who has yet to reach his prime?
Two words: Scott Boras.
Hellickson is represented by the mega-agent, and Tampa Bay knows that reaching any sort of long-term deal with him is virtually impossible.
Moving him now would bring back a substantial return for the Rays, primarily a middle-of-the-order bat to pair alongside 3B Evan Longoria.
Let's take a look at five teams who not only have the hitting prospects that Tampa Bay would covet, but who would benefit greatly by adding Hellickson to their rotations.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City has plenty of offense, but when Bruce Chen and Jeremy Guthrie are the "aces" of your starting rotation, adding quality starting pitchers to the front of your rotation becomes incredibly important.
The Royals have a number of quality players in the minor leagues, primarily outfielders Wil Myers and Bubba Starling, who could be used to obtain the pitching they need.
Hellickson alone might not be enough to obtain Myers, and Starling, who is still a few years away from making an impact in the majors, might not offer the immediate results Tampa Bay seeks.
But Kansas City has someone on its major league roster who makes an awful lot of sense for the Rays—designated hitter Billy Butler.
Butler, 26, is under contract through 2015 and can play first base, an area of need for the Rays after the second go-around with Carlos Pena didn't exactly go as planned.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Even if they re-sign Zack Greinke, chances are that the Angels will still be looking to add another starting pitcher to the mix for 2013 and beyond.
Even after dealing top prospect Jean Segura to obtain Greinke, the Angels still have a number of minor leaguers that they can use to obtain Hellickson, starting with outfielder/first baseman Kole Calhoun.
Calhoun, 25, made his major league debut in 2012 as a September call-up. While his numbers were less than impressive—4-for-23 in 21 games—Calhoun is a patient hitter who doesn't strike out much, draws walks and has power.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles needs another arm to pair with Clayton Kershaw at the top of the Dodgers rotation, but the problem it'll have in trying to go after Jeremy Hellickson is that it doesn't really have the young, middle-of-the-order bats in the minor leagues that fit what Tampa needs.
What it does have, however, is a number of pitching prospects who could be just as enticing for the Rays—including top prospect Zach Lee.
A package of Lee and some other arms would allow the Rays to re-stock the farm system and move one of their other arms, perhaps James Shields, in order to obtain the bat(s) that they need.
There might not be a team who needs quality pitching more desperately than the Minnesota Twins, but there's no chance that they'll move top prospect Miguel Sano to get it.
Nor should we expect them to consider dealing their first-round pick in the 2012 MLB draft, outfielder Byron Buxton.
But that doesn't mean that the Twins don't have quality pieces in the minors that they could use to land Jeremy Hellickson, for a package could be built around outfielder Oswaldo Arcia.
Arcia, 21, might strike out a bunch, but he makes enough contact to keep his batting average around .300 and has power to all fields. While he only played 69 games at Double-A New Britain in 2012, he hit .328 with a .955 OPS, 10 home runs and 67 RBI in fewer than 300 plate appearances.
Toronto Blue Jays
No team in baseball has quite as deep a farm system as the Toronto Blue Jays, and no team in baseball had as many issues with its starting rotation in 2012 as Toronto did.
Whether the two teams would deal with each other since they're in the same division remains to be seen, but Toronto has more than enough in the minor leagues to land Hellickson from the Rays.
Any package would have to start with catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, who would put an end to the yearly question asked by Rays fans: "Who's the catcher of the future?"
d'Arnaud, 23, certainly fits the profile of a middle-of-the-order bat as he hits for average and has power, giving Tampa Bay another run producer to pair with Evan Longoria.