Ford: Phillies rumors, giving credit where it's due

Is Jeremy Hellickson the leading candidate to be traded by the Phillies?

I probably don't have to tell you what a huge relief it was this week to learn that plagiarism is finally all right. Man, that took long enough.

It is so easy to accidentally slip when writing about Philadelphia sports. Sometimes, particularly when the local landscape is outlined against a blue, gray October sky, the Four Horsemen occasionally ride again. As you well know, in dramatic lore, they are Famine, Pestilence, Destruction, and Death. But those are only aliases. Their real names are Eagles, Flyers, Sixers, and Phillies.

Wait a minute. Does that sound familiar? Hmm. Could have been Murphy. Ah, what the heck. New day, new rules.

I will tell you that the Phillies, who are more like Paper Cuts than Death, are getting a lot of attention as July drifts toward August, and it is hard to keep straight just what might happen and who has written what leading up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. A good journalist tries, however.

The Phils close out their last homestand of the month on Thursday and won't return to Citizens Bank Park until Aug. 2. That means they will miss next week's Democratic National Convention across the street in the Wells Fargo Center. The Eagles, just down Pattison Avenue, will be bunkered in for the opening of training camp. They just sent out guidelines for media access to the practices during convention week and it apparently involves a flume ride from Penrose Avenue, tasering at 20th Street, and a cavity search at the NovaCare gate, which shouldn't be a problem because I've been to the dentist quite recently. I don't see what can go wrong.

While the Phillies are off touring Pittsburgh, Miami, and Atlanta, however, general manager Matt Klentak will be trying to extract prospects from other organizations in exchange for current Phils who could be expendable at the deadline.

The leading candidate to disappear before the next homestand against the Giants is veteran starter Jeremy Hellickson, who would be a reliable addition to the rotation of any contender. Hellickson started Wednesday night against the Marlins, one of the teams rumored to be interested. I learned this from a report by Steve Adams of, quoting a tweet by's Joe Frisaro. Don't know about you, but that's good enough for me.

Up in Boston, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox are also taking a look at trading for Hellickson and added that Phillies scouts have been at Boston minor-league games like ants on a potato chip. (I made up that part. Not the part about the scouts - Cafardo did report that - but the unfortunate snack metaphor.)

Closer to home, Jimmy Salisbury at noted sagely that as the Phillies exited the all-star break they synced up Hellickson's pitching schedule with that of Jake Thompson, who is doing extremely well with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and would be a likely rotation replacement for Hellickson.

Along with Hellickson, there have been substantial rumors regarding closer Jeanmar Gomez, who has been very good but is also 28 and holds a role that doesn't guarantee long-term success. Plus, the Phillies believe they can find another closer and are intrigued by rookie Edubray Ramos, a 23-year-old who started last season in Class A and has an outstanding fastball. Our own Matt Gelb, beat writer for the Inquirer, Daily News, and, told me that, but I can't remember if I read it or we had that conversation in the press box. Come to think of it, he might have used "outstanding" to describe the fastball, so mark that down as maybe plagiarism.'s Jerry Crasnick reported that the Giants are one of the teams with interest in Gomez and are also taking a look at veteran reliever David Hernandez, although he wouldn't shake much out of the San Francisco prospect tree. David Murphy of the Daily News and threw the name of set-up man Hector Neris into the mix, pointing out that betting against Neris' continuing his success would be a continuation of the Ken Giles logic, whatever that means.

At, Ryan Lawrence turned his attention to the possibility that Carlos Ruiz might be making his last appearance in a Phillies home uniform this week. Ruiz offers a steady presence for any team that could use a catcher, and Lawrence pointed out a report from MLB Network's Jon Morosi that the recent injury to Cleveland's Yan Gomes could lead the Indians to pursue Ruiz.

Also among position player rumors, Todd Zolecki, Phillies beat man for, reported that outfielder Aaron Altherr's rehabilitation has gone so well that the Phils could make room for him by trading Peter Bourjos. Altherr, who tore a tendon in his right wrist in spring training, is 25, and in 2015 he hit a combined .294 with Reading and Lehigh Valley and .241 in 39 games with the Phillies, who would like an extended look at him to see what they have.

Spinning off that, Joe Giglio of referenced a report on NBC Hardball Talk that credited Kenny Rosenthal of Fox Sports with speculation that the White Sox might be a logical landing place for Bourjos. Whoa, better pack your bags for the Windy City, Peter. Doesn't get more solid than that.

Let's see. I think that's it as the Phils prepare to take off and might come back with a far different look and a different set of reasonable goals for the rest of the season. Turns out that avoiding copying wasn't even that difficult. Just say where you found the stuff and hope for the best.

That's because somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright, and the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light. Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children bound, but there won't be joy in Philly until all four teams turn around.

Made that one up myself.