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Inbox: Will Hellickson be dealt before Deadline?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from Phillies fans
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

Do you think the Phillies will trade anybody else before Monday?
-- Mike L., Philadelphia

Jeremy Hellickson could be traded before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He has not pitched as well as last season, but he is 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts. He could help somebody. There are some similarities between Hellickson and Joe Blanton, whom the Phillies acquired in July 2008. Blanton was 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA in 20 starts when the Phillies got him. He wasn't CC Sabathia, whom the Phillies tried to get and were unable to acquire. But former general manager Pat Gillick said if a team can make an incremental improvement, it should make it. Nobody ever confused Blanton for Sabathia, but he solidified the Phillies' rotation and pitched in Game 4 of the World Series.

Do you think the Phillies will trade anybody else before Monday?
-- Mike L., Philadelphia

Jeremy Hellickson could be traded before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He has not pitched as well as last season, but he is 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts. He could help somebody. There are some similarities between Hellickson and Joe Blanton, whom the Phillies acquired in July 2008. Blanton was 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA in 20 starts when the Phillies got him. He wasn't CC Sabathia, whom the Phillies tried to get and were unable to acquire. But former general manager Pat Gillick said if a team can make an incremental improvement, it should make it. Nobody ever confused Blanton for Sabathia, but he solidified the Phillies' rotation and pitched in Game 4 of the World Series.

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Howie Kendrick had a chance to be traded before the Deadline, but he got hit in the left hand with a pitch Wednesday night and suffered a bruise. That could push a trade into August if he can't play this weekend. The Phillies nonetheless need to move Kendrick sooner rather than later. There simply is nowhere for him to play and no reason he should be taking at-bats from second baseman Cesar Hernandez or outfielders Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera.

Others like Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Nava could be traded before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline. There is no market for Tommy Joseph.

Did the Phillies get anybody good in the Pat Neshek deal?
-- Tom L., Philadelphia

Ask again in 2020. We're talking about three players in Class A, but the Phillies appear to have received three Minor Leaguers with upside. Only shortstop Jose Gomez ranked among Colorado's Top 30 prospects, according to MLBPipeline.com. But to get one player in the top 30, plus two more pitchers, is solid work. Remember that the Phillies shipped Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals in July 2015 and only received Nick Pivetta, who was Washington's No. 12 prospect at the time. Papelbon was an elite closer signed through '16, whereas Neshek is a middle reliever who will be a free agent after the season.

Don't you think the Phillies should trade Herrera? I'm tired of his bat-flipping antics and think they need to move on.
-- Hank C., Philadelphia

The Phillies should be open to anything. If a team called and offered an incredible package of players for Herrera, of course they should listen. But if you are asking if the Phillies should dump Herrera because you are tired of his mental mistakes and bat flips, the answer is an emphatic no.

Herrera is hitting .271 with 32 doubles, one triple, nine homers, 36 RBIs and a .753 OPS. He is tied for first among National League center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (nine). He has hit .331 with a .934 OPS since June 1 and has a 10.0 WAR in his first three seasons. Since 1968, only Mike Schmidt (11.7) and Scott Rolen (10.9) posted higher WAR in their first three seasons with the Phillies.

Is Herrera a franchise player like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard? No, but he is arguably the most talented player on the team.

Teams don't ditch talents like Herrera, especially 100-loss teams. Hernandez once received similar criticism about his many mental mistakes. He has been much improved since the second half of last season. In fact, it's really no longer an issue. Maybe Herrera finally gets it. Maybe he doesn't. But right now it would be foolish not to find out in the midst of a rebuild. The Phillies have nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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