The question I was asking myself in the offseason when I heard the Phillies re-signed Jeremy Hellickson to a one-year deal is, how much of an ace is Hellickson?
Hellickson earned $7M in 2016, his salary is ballooning up to $17.2M in 2017, thanks to a qualifying offer that the Phillies made to him and the lack of him getting a better deal from any other team led Hellickson to sign the one-year deal.
The Phillies inability to move Hellickson last year, in effect left them little option if they wanted to see any return from Jeremy if he did garner a longer term contract from another team, so this year they will be over paying him for a pitcher of his caliber.
A lot of the answers in the question of whether or not Hellickson can indeed be the ace of the staff lies in what has happened over the past few years with him. He's a pretty good pitcher who can put in a lot of innings in a season, but he's just not there with convincing winning seasons, in fact, after 7 seasons his record is 61-58.
Hellickson looked like he may be the next superstar pitcher after he broke into the MLB landscape and was voted Rookie of the Year in 2011. His pitching company could have helped him a whole lot in Tampa for 2011, Hellickson was teammates with both James Shields and David Price.
Hellickson's career with Tampa saw his ERA balloon up to 5.12 in 2013, but he still won 12 games on the year. Then, in 2014, Jeremy suffered an elbow injury that led him to be out needing arthroscopic elbow surgery. In 2014, Hellickson's record dipped to a career low point at 1-6 on the shortened injury year.
In November of 2014, the Rays sent Hellickson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a couple of minor leaguers. His short stay with the Diamondbacks ended after a year that saw his innings pitched back up to 146 and he started 27 games for a Diamondbacks team that was terribly average. The Diamondbacks traded Hellickson to the Phils in November of 2015.
If anything else for Hellickson this year, it is yet another chance to prove himself as a pitcher that maybe worthy of a multi-year deal, his agent Scott Boras is sort of a hard line type of agent that doesn't always get what's best for his client, where they may have been able to make a decent deal but not break the bank of a team for a slight above average player such as Hellickson.
Last season, Hellickson logged 189 innings and 12 wins on a terrible offensive year for the team. With a better team, could Hellickson have an 18 win season if he stays healthy?
Some Hellickson stats:
|162 Game Avg.||12||12||.513||3.90||33||194|
|TBR (5 yrs)||40||36||.526||3.78||108||640.0|
|ARI (1 yr)||9||12||.429||4.62||27||146.0|
|PHI (1 yr)||12||10||.545||3.71||32||189.0|
|AL (5 yrs)||40||36||.526||3.78||108||640.0|
|NL (2 yrs)||21||22||.488||4.11||59||335.0|