Boston is seeking starting pitching depth and has scouted Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.
Hellickson is an intriguing option, since he has experience pitching in the American League East. He started for the Rays from 2010-2014 and is having his best season since 2012, when he pitched to a 3.10 ERA over 177.0 innings with Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox haven’t seen their starters go deep into games routinely, with Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz having inconsistent seasons. Hellickson has done the opposite, making 18 starts and pitching to a 3.92 ERA and 4.26 FIP over 105.2 innings.
Philadelphia enters play Friday seven games under five-hundred and 11 games back in the National League East, making a sale before the trade deadline likely.
Hellickson will be a free agent at the end of the season, which would put the Red Sox, who sit three games behind the Orioles in the AL East, in a position to temporarily improve their rotation.
While some teams will seek controllable starters before the deadline, it might not take much to acquire Hellickson, since he would only be with a new club for half of a season. Unlike in the past, there aren’t many rental options for teams preferring to lose fewer prospects for a short-term upgrade. David Price and Jon Lester were big names in the final years of their contracts the last two summers, respectively.
Boston, whose starting rotation has pitched to a 4.82 ERA, which ranks 11th in the American League, will likely express interest in other starters known to be available. Jake Odorizzi could emerge as a target, though it’s unlikely the Rays are open to improving their division rivals’ roster.
Oakland could move Sonny Gray in the coming weeks, but he’s struggled this season, pitching to an ERA over five. The Red Sox could check on Julio Teheran’s availability, but the Braves seem to be asking for a lot in return.