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Rays Trade Jeremy Hellickson to the Diamondbacks

In the first major move of his tenure as the Arizona Diamondbacks GM, Dave Stewart has acquired Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for prospects Andrew Velazquez and Justin Williams.

Hellickson went 1-5 with a 4.52 in an injury-shortened 2014 campaign that saw him start 13 games. He returned just prior to the All-Star break after undergoing offseason elbow surgery. Prior to 2014, the 27-year-old righty had put up three consecutive double-digit win seasons, including AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2011. He also won a Gold Glove back in 2012.

Seen as a middle-of-the-rotation arm, Hellickson should help Arizona from a depth standpoint. It’s also important to note that he put up 170-plus innings in those three seasons prior to last year.

Tampa Bay received the aforementioned Justin Williams in this deal. He was a consensus top-10 prospect in Arizona’s farm system heading into the season before putting up a .351 average between rookie and Single-A ball in 2014. Williams, an outfielder, was a second-round pick back in 2013 from Terrebonne High School in Louisiana.

Andrew Velazquez isn’t as highly regarded, but the infielder did hit .290 with 50 stolen bases and a whopping 15 triples for Single-A South Bend this past season. After playing a little bit of second base earlier in his professional career, Velazquez was a regular shortstop in 2014.

This is a move that seems to work for both sides. Tampa Bay wanted to add some young talent to its system, while Arizona needed help in the rotation.

Photo: USA Today