As the Orioles look at trying to improve their starting rotation before the trade deadline, Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson is a name who keeps coming up. They were reported just yesterday to still be scouting him.
What hasn’t been known is what it might cost to acquire Hellickson. ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that the Phillies asking price for the right-handed free agent-to-be is “one of your top five prospects.” If they aren’t able to get that, Stark says they just won’t deal Hellickson and will make the qualifying offer to him and presumably collect a late first round pick in the process.
Stark went on to clarify what that seems to mean. The Phillies aren’t demanding anyone’s best prospect. They do want someone in the next tier.
What would that mean for the Orioles if they’re really serious about Hellickson? The O’s, with their weak farm system, are probably not getting in the door with just any of their own top five prospects. Trey Mancini would not seem to be enough to move that needle.
It wouldn’t be surprising to me to find out that, where the Orioles are involved, that asking price is catching prospect Chance Sisco. He is not regarded as a future star player but does seem to be a player with a decent big league career ahead of him. That seems to be what Philly is seeking. The O’s don’t have any other players like that in the system.
If that is actually what Philly would want from the Orioles, there’s no way that trade should happen for a two month rental of a starter who’s spent the last six weeks padding his stats against bad offenses.
Demands can change. There was a time in 2013 where the Astros were asking the Orioles for Dylan Bundy in a Bud Norris deal. That was after Bundy’s Tommy John surgery but still in the time where Dylan Bundy was still undeniably DYLAN BUNDY.
Indeed, within five days of the trading deadline, the Astros proclaimed it “unlikely” that a Norris deal could be done without Bundy. That “unlikely” was obviously more negotiating posture than reality. They settled for less rather than nothing.
For the Phillies, the whole “one of your top five prospects” thing could be negotiating posture too. Three or four days from now, maybe they’ll cave and take whatever they can get, though the belief that they can just get a QO pick when Hellickson inevitably leaves seems like it should keep them from just settling for whatever.
It’s another sign that the Orioles probably aren’t going to actually be able to improve their starting rotation on the trading block. If they can’t even get Hellickson, they probably can’t get anyone who matters.