Phillies, Hellickson top Braves with non-waiver trade deadline looming
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Phillies rumors: Tigers scout Hellickson, club's asking price for Velasquez revealed

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

ATLANTA — With the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline just one day away, rumors surrounding two Philadelphia Phillies starters — right-handers Jeremy Hellickson and Vince Velasquez — are starting to pick up in momentum.

One potential suitor for Hellickson, the Miami Marlins, no longer has interest after acquiring right-handers Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea and Tayron Guerrero from the San Diego Padres in exchange for former Phillies prospect Jarred Cosart, right-hander Carter Capps and minor-leaguers Luis Castillo and Josh Naylor.

According to Jim Salisbury of, however, another suitor for Hellickson has emerged: the Detroit Tigers, who were attendance at Hellickson's 22nd start of the season Saturday evening at Turner Field where he allowed three runs on nine hits and a walk en route to his eighth victory as a Phillie.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles also 'remain interested' in Hellickson, notes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Salisbury writes:

Pittsburgh, Texas, Toronto, Baltimore, the Dodgers and others remain in the market for starting pitching. The Detroit Tigers could be a team to watch on Hellickson. They had a scout come in to watch Hellickson pitch in Atlanta on Saturday night.

The Tigers' rotation currently features RHP Justin Verlander (11-6, 3.54 ERA), RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-9, 4.98 ERA), RHP Michael Fulmer (9-2. 2.50 ERA), LHP Matt Boyd (2-2, 4.71 ERA) and RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-11, 6.56 ERA).


Velasquez, acquired this past offseason from the Houston Astros in the six-player deal highlighted with the departure of Phillies closer Ken Giles, has been drawing interest from Texas' other Major League Baseball team, the Rangers.

While the Rangers and Phillies have had 'meaningful trade discussions,' according to Salisbury, a deal is unlikely because the Phillies are 'seeking a high price.'

Salisbury writes:

... the Rangers could use their prospect resources in their quest to add a more established pitcher like Chris Sale or Chris Archer or a catcher like Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy. But it remains noteworthy that the Phillies have made Velasquez available for the right price. ...

Sources say the Phillies would like to get two hitters from Texas’ bounty. One of those hitters must be ready to play in the majors now and the other must be close.

Similar to the Tigers with Hellickson on Saturday, the Rangers had a scout in attendance at Turner Field on Friday to watch Velasquez, who allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings, dropping his third losing decision of the season.

Salisbury lists the following hitters that the Phillies likely have interest in: outfielders Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo and Lewis Brinson, along with infielder Jurickson Profar.

The Phillies and Rangers have had recent history in making transactions surrounding notable players. One year ago, 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player Cole Hamels and late-inning reliever Jake Diekman were dealt to Texas in exchange for right-handers Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, left-hander Matt Harrison and prospects Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson and Nick Williams.

Each of the three acquired prospects in Alfaro, Thompson and Williams have not disappointed this year in their first full season within the Phillies' minor-league systems. Thompson, who is 10-5 with a 3.15 ERA over 20 starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, could be promoted as soon as this week pending a deal involving Hellickson or Velaquez.

Another notable trade involving the Phillies and Rangers was the acquisition of seven-time All-Star third baseman Michael Young on Dec. 9, 2012 in exchange for right-handers Lisalverto Bonilla and Josh Lindblom. Young was inducted into the Texas Rangers' Baseball Hall of Fame Saturday evening.

Both Hellickson and Velasquez have won eight games in red pinstripes this season over 40 combined starts. The Phillies have won five of Hellickson's six starts in the month of July, where he is 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 0.956 WHIP ratio. Velasquez went 2-1 in July with a 3.19 ERA and 1.419 WHIP ratio. On April 14, he became just the seventh pitcher in MLB history to go the distance with at least 16 strikeouts with zero walks and runs allowed.

Behind Eickhoff, the Phillies will face the Atlanta Braves Sunday afternoon in the series finale of the four-game set. They will have off tomorrow as they travel back to Philadelphia to prepare for a brief three-game homestand against Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants.


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