Phillies, Braves begin series amid trade rumors (Jul 28, 2017)

BY AP • July 28, 2017

The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves start a four-game series on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, but both teams could have different-looking rosters by the time they finish the series Monday.

Both clubs have already been active sellers on the trade market. Atlanta dealt starter Jaime Garcia to Minnesota for 19-year-old pitcher Huascar Ynoa earlier in the week.

Philadelphia shipped right-handed reliever Pat Neshek to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night in exchange for a trio of prospects.

The teams could make more deals before Monday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Each of the scheduled starters for Friday night's series opener, Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies and Julio Teheran for the Braves, has been the subject of trade rumors.

Hellickson has a 4.73 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 20 starts this season. Hellickson, who is on a one-year deal worth $17.2 million, was hit hard in his last outing, giving up six runs on seven hits in five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In five career starts against Atlanta, Hellickson is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA. The 30-year-old allowed just two runs in seven innings during his only start against the Braves this season.

Teheran's trade value might currently be higher than Hellickson's due to the recent run he is having. In four starts this month, Teheran has a 2.45 ERA, is holding opponents to a .202 batting average and has 24 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. Teheran, 26, is in the fourth year of a six-year, $32.4 million deal.

The Braves enter the weekend four games under .500 and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Garcia trade shows they are willing to sell for the right price. Could Teheran also be on the move?

"What we're trying to do is build something for the long-term," Braves general manager John Coppolella told the Marietta Daily Journal earlier this month. "We weren't predicted to win the division or even go .500. It's good to see how well our players have played. To be somewhat ahead of schedule is a great thing for the Braves and our fans."

At 35-64, the Phillies have unmistakably turned 2017 into a rebuilding year. Neshek, an All-Star with a 1.12 ERA in 43 appearances this year, was the Phillies' biggest trading chip. But more players could be on the move, including Hellickson and veteran outfielder/second baseman Howie Kendrick.

"Pat was the most targeted player we had, so this is the one I would've told you was likely," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said after the Neshek trade. "We'll have to see (about more trades). I don't want to handicap it, but we've received some calls for some of our other players -- some more serious than others."

As the GMs stay busy on the phones, the Phillies and Braves will be meeting for their third series of the season. The Phillies are 5-2 against the Braves in 2017 and swept them during a three-game series at home in April.

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