Tampa Bay Rays Trade of Jeremy Hellickson Opens up Spot in Rotation, For Now


Sep 25, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays finally traded starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Arizona Diamondbacks and in return received two prospects in outfielder Justin Williams and shortstop Andrew Velazquez.

Hellickson’s 2014 season was the worst of his career as he went 1-5 in 13 starts with a 4.52 ERA after having elbow surgery just before the start of the season.

Over the last two seasons, where he’s tossed 237 2/3 innings, he has an ERA of 5.00.

The Rays could have hung on to Hellickson to see if he regained his Rookie of the Year form but in the end Matt Silverman felt it was necessary to move the Iowa native.

However, by moving the 27-year-old and saving $4 million, the Rays now have a hole at the back end of their rotation, for the time being.

Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly have their spots secured. The fifth spot remains open due to Matt Moore recovering from Tommy John surgery. He isn’t expected to be back until the middle of next year.

So who will fill the fifth spot created by Hellickson’s trade and Moore’s void?

Well, the Rays have a number of in-house options. Nate Karns and Alex Colome both made starts for Tampa Bay last year and would appear to be the leading candidates.

Other options on the 40-man roster include Enny Romero and Mike Montgomery, who both spent the 2014 season at AAA Durham.

Matt Andriese is also another option after he went 11-8 with a 3.77 ERA in 25 starts at Durham last season. He would need to be added to the 40-man roster however.

The Rays definitely have options to fill out the back end of the rotation until Moore returns. It’s just a case of who gets the nod.