The Arizona Diamondbacks made their second trade in less than a week, this one being a little bit more high-profile than the previous one. The Snakes first dealt Minor League outfielder Daniel Palka to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for catcher Chris Herrmann. Today, the D-backs sent right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Philadelphia Phillies for Minor League right-hander Sam McWilliams. 2015 marked the only season in Arizona for Hellickson, who came over in a deal from the Tampa Bay Rays for two Minor Leaguers.
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It was an uneventful stay in the desert for the 28-year old Hellickson, the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year. He went 9-12 with an ERA of 4.62 in 27 starts. He only threw 146 innings and allowed 151 hits and 43 walks while striking out 121. Hellickson’t best outing for the D-backs came on August 11th, ironically against his new squad. He threw a season-best eight innings vs. the Phillies and allowed one unearned run on seven hits while striking out six in an 11-1 Arizona victory. More often than not, Hellickson had issues completing six innings and went seven full frames or more only three times.
McWilliams, age 20, was Philadelphia’s eighth round selection in the 2014 Draft. His professional career consists of a total of 16 starts with the Phillies’ Rookie League team in the Gulf Coast League. McWilliams is 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds and has a fastball that can hit as high as 95 MPH. According to mlb.com, he ranked as the 27th-best prospect in the Philadelphia system.
Acquiring a power arm was not the only motivation for this deal. Hellickson was due to make roughly $5 million dollars in this, his final season of arbitration. When they made the trade for him last offseason, management made an attempt to remake the team’s starting rotation, basically throwing names against a wall and seeing if they stick. In addition to Hellickson, Rubby De La Rosa, Robbie Ray and Allen Webster were brought in to shore up a staff coming off a 98 loss season. Now it is official: Hellickson did not live up to his end of the bargain.
The thing is, I think most fans saw this coming. Things went downhill for Hellickson after the 2012 season when he registered a 5.17 ERA the following year and missed much of 2014 because of elbow surgery. In return, Arizona gave up promising, Single A middle infielder Andrew Velazquez, who stole 50 bases and had a .367 on-base percentage in 2014 and outfielder Justin Williams, the organization’s second round pick in 2014. The D-backs recouped a similar middle infield prospect in Domingo Leyba as part of the Ray trade. However, it still seemed a little bit of steep price for Hellickson who turned out to be, in effect, a one-year rental.