Hellickson boosts value in dominating start

Hellickson boosts value in dominating start

PHILADELPHIA -- Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to make two more starts before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

But if Hellickson made his final one with the Phillies on Wednesday night in a 4-1 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park, it was a good one. He allowed one run on five hits with eight strikeouts in eight innings, improving to 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA in his last six starts.

"I guess I'm anxious just to get it over with," Hellickson said about the incessant trade questions. "Like I've said before, I want to be here. I want to win here. I really think we can. My focus is here right now."

Hellickson is available because he is a free agent following the season and because the Phillies would like to get a look at Triple-A pitching prospect Jake Thompson, who pitched six scoreless innings on Wednesday against Indianapolis. Thompson is 6-0 with a 0.58 ERA in his last nine starts. Trading Hellickson would give Thompson a longer look in the big leagues before the end of the season.

"I guess there's a chance we'll see him before the year's over," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said before the game.

Thompson strikes out Duffy

There is plenty of interest in Hellickson. The Marlins, who are in the market for a starting pitcher, got a firsthand look at him. The Orioles had a scout in attendance specifically to watch Hellickson. The Blue Jays and Giants also had scouts at the game.

A top Giants scout has been in town since Monday. San Francisco is also in the market for bullpen help and a corner outfielder. Closer Jeanmar Gomez and outfielder Peter Bourjos are available.

"If anybody does have interest, I'm sure they were impressed by tonight," Mackanin said afterward.

Of course, the Phillies feel no pressure to trade anybody like last summer, when they felt compelled to move Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and Chase Utley. If the Phillies only field offers of marginal prospects for Hellickson, they seem inclined to have him finish out the season and continue to mentor the team's young starters, like Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin.

"On the other hand, let's say you lost [his leadership] and you had to move a young pitcher up here, I'd like to see that," Mackanin said. "That would be nice to see some of the young pitchers. Eventually, we will. When, I'm not sure. It would be nice to see some more young players."

That goes for more than just Thompson. Certainly, there are folks in the organization eager to see Triple-A shortstop J.P. Crawford and outfielder Nick Williams. It would not be a surprise to see one, if not both of them, no later than as September call-ups.

As far as Thompson's ETA, that depends on Hellickson's fate.

"I mean, it's out of my control, so I can't really control or think about it, so I don't," Hellickson said.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.