While talking about the acquisition of Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees, Theo Epstein said Monday the Cubs will continue to explore ways to improve the roster “for this season and beyond” leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline on Aug. 1.
The Cubs are believed to be interested in add a left-handed hitting outfielder and starting pitching to the roster. The front office has already made two deals to add left-handed relievers (Aroldis Chapman, Mike Montgomery) and the Cubs were very encouraged by the way Joe Nathan pitched Sunday.
According to a report from Jim Salisbury, the Cubs were one of at least six teams in Miami on Monday night to watch Jeremy Hellickson pitch. Hellickson shut down the Marlins for the second straight time. Hellickson allowed one hit over six scoreless innings. Hellickson walked one and struck out one. Hellickson’s last two starts have been against the Fish, one of the teams reportedly interested in him. Hellickson has allowed one run on six hits with a walk and nine strikeouts in 14 innings.
Jeremy Hellickson has put together a good season for the Phillies. And he’s been really, really good over his last five starts after struggling in June. Hellickson is 2-1 this month with a 1.97 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. Hellickson has given up eight runs, seven earned, on 22 hits with four walks and 23 strikeouts in 32 innings. Hellickson has faced the Royals, Braves, Mets and Marlins twice in July.
Outside of Philly this season, Hellickson is 3-3 in nine starts with a 3.64 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. And on the season, the 29-year old right-hander is 7-7 in 21 starts with a 3.65 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 4.16 FIP. In 125 2/3 innings, Hellickson has allowed 57 runs, 51 earned, on 113 hits with 28 walks and 107 strikeouts.
Jim Salisbury reported along with the Cubs and Marlins, scouts from the Rangers, Giants, Blue Jays and Orioles were in Miami on Monday night.
The Cubs have a strong connection to Jeremy Hellickson.
Joe Maddon was his skipper in Tampa when Hellickson broke into the majors in 2010 and won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2011. During his five seasons pitching for Maddon, Hellickson was 40-36 in 115 games, 108 starts, with a 3.78 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 4.36 FIP.
Hellickson is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
The level of the Cubs interest in Hellickson is unknown. And it’s very possible the Cubs were just advancing the series with the Marlins that is coming up at Wrigley next week (Aug. 1-3).