And the GM Meetings rumor intrigue starts early today, with Joel Sherman tweeting this fun mystery:
#Rays are moving closer to dealing Jeremy Hellickson to an NL team. Likely this week
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 10, 2014
Whether the Cubs are involved or not, Hellickson being dealt to an NL team is going to impact the pitching market, so this is something to follow.
For years, Hellickson was a favorite sabermetric discussion piece as his ERA consistently outperformed his peripheral statistics, thanks in large part to an extremely low BABIP. Hellickson is a fly ball guy, so it wasn’t entirely unsustainable – or so the argument went. He didn’t strike too many guys out, but he always had a nice walk rate. But then there was also the matter of his super high left-on-base percentage, and his low HR/FB rate. In other words, he looked like a strong candidate for regression.
In recent years, the regression stick hit him hard, with his peripherals winding up where you’d expect them, and the ERA taking the commensurate hit (5.17 in 2013, 4.52 in 2014). That the Rays would be looking to deal him right now is probably unsurprising, given that trend, and given that he’ll get another bump in arbitration next year from the $3.625 million he made in 2014.
I tend not to think that the Cubs would be involved here, because I don’t see a whole lot of projectable upside. But we’ll see. In any case, as I said, the situation is worth monitoring for its impact on the pitching market, and, potentially, the NL Central.