According to multiple reports overnight and this morning the Washington Nationals and free agent righty Jeremy Hellickson have agreed on another one-year deal that will bring the nine-year veteran back for a second season in D.C.
Hellickson, 31, signed a 1-year/$2M deal last March and posted a 3.45 ERA, a 4.22 FIP, 20 walks (1.97 BB/9), and 65 Ks (6.41 K/9) in 19 starts and 91 1⁄3 innings pitched before a wrist injury in August, which he re-aggravated in a mid-September start, ended his season.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported this morning that Hellickson’s deal is a 1-year/$1.3M deal with incentives similar to his last one which could earn him up to $4M this year.
Hellickson was used carefully last season, with the Nationals limiting him to an average of just under five innings per outing, noting that he tended to struggle the third time around the order, with a .455/.571/.682 line against on the season when he got up around 76-100 pitches.
After a rough 2017 campaign which saw Hellickson put up a 5.43 ERA, a 5.77 FIP, 47 walks (2.58 BB/9), and 96 Ks (5.27 K/9) over 30 starts and 164 IP for Baltimore and Philadelphia, GM Mike Rizzo said that his scouts saw they saw some things they thought would make a difference for the starter.
“We found a couple of differences in his delivery that I know he’s worked on in California and he’s taken here,” Rizzo said at Spring Training last year, as quoted by AP writer Chuck King. “Hopefully he can make that little adjustment.”
Apparently the Nationals were happy enough with what they saw to bring him back for a second season in the nation’s capital.
If Hellickson, who missed time with a hamstring injury before the wrist issues, can stay on the mound in 2019, he’ll give the Nats another option for the fifth spot in the rotation that already features Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg, and Aníbal Sánchez.
Hellickson’s deal is a major league contract, so he’ll be in camp this Spring competing for the fifth spot with the likes of Joe Ross (who’s coming off rehab for Tommy John surgery), Erick Fedde, (who dealt with shoulder issues in 2018) and the other starters that Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office have heading to West Palm Beach, FL to compete for the starting rotation.