Among Phillies players, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard's names will dominate the chatter during this winter's hot stove league.

Hamels is an attractive alternative to contenders scouring the free agent market for a top tier pitcher - and the kind of player who could bring back 2-3 legit prospects to fuel the Phillies rebuild - and Howard is the face of the current team's plight, from NL power to major league disaster.

While those are the names that'll be churned out on a weekly basis in the offseason's rumor mill, there are plenty of other names and areas of need that Ruben Amaro Jr. and Co. will have to address in the coming months. Chief among those needs: pitching.

Which makes Jeremy Hellickson an intriguing name.

On Monday morning, when the General Managers Meetings got underway at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman reported that the Tampa Bay Rays were close to trading Hellickson to a National League team.

Let's get this out of the way first: almost every National League team would like to add pitching. So if we took the time to examine all 15 National League teams - like the Braves for example, who reportedly are looking to move an outfield bat for pitching - we could surely come up with similar Hellickson scenarios as this one:

Domonic Brown for Hellickson.

I am not reporting this as a legit possibility or presenting it was something I've heard during my first hour at the Biltmore this morning. So it's not fact based; it's not even speculation as much as it's just an idea. You can do that in blog entry - right? - while you wait to talk to agents and executives at the Meetings

Brown and Hellickson both broke into the big leagues in 2010, they're both 27-years-old, and they've both had pretty ugly numbers over their respective last 1 1/2 seasons. If they're traded this winter, their teams would surely be selling low - neither are going to bring back marquee talent.

Hellickson, 23-21 with a 3.02 ERA in 60 starts of his first two full seasons in the Rays rotation, in 2011 and 2012, has a 5.00 ERA in the last two seasons. He underwent minor elbow surgery last winter, missed the first half of 2014, and had a 4.52 ERA in 13 starts after returning.

You're probably aware of Brown's career trajectory in the last two seasons.

He was the NL Player of the Month in May of 2013 en route to his first All-Star appearance two months later. But since playing in that All-Star Game, Brown has hit .243 with 14 home runs, 42 extra-base hits, 116 strikeouts and 48 walks in 188 games.

Brown's .634 OPS last season ranked 138th out of 146 qualifying big league hitters. His defense in left field is also sub par.

So why would Tampa have interest in Brown? Like Hellickson, he is still young. And, like Hellickson, Brown is under team control.

While Hellickson cannot become a free agent until after the 2016 season, Brown isn't eligible until after 2017. So a team acquiring Brown has a three-year window to tap back into the talent that made him a top prospect and an All-Star.

An American League team would also obviously have the option of using Brown in as a designed hitter if they wanted to - although Tampa will probably be looking for an outfielder to go with Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers this winter. Perhaps Brown, a Tampa-area native, would thrive in a much quieter sports market, with less expectations.

The Phillies interest in Hellickson, meanwhile, would make complete sense.

Beyond Hamels, the current rotation is full of uncertainty. There is no immediate help coming from the farm system.

Amaro said last week that adding pitching depth is a priority this winter. And they won't be shopping in the Max Scherzer/Jon Lester aisle, for obvious reasons.

"We're looking at 1-2 year deals, bounce-back candidates, guys trying to reestablish themselves," Amaro said.

According to numbers calculated by, Brown, eligible for arbitration for the first time, will likely make around $2.6 million in 2015, while Hellickson, also arbitration-eligible, would be in the neighborhood of $3.9 million.

Given Hellickson's first two big league seasons, that might be a $4 million gamble worth making for the pitching-desperate Phillies. If Hellickson bounces back, the Phils would have him for 2016, too, and could lock him up longer before he turns 30.

Whether Tampa would have similar interest in Brown is unknown. But after signing Grady Sizemore last month, and have been heavily connected to rumors for Cuban corner outfielder Yasmany Tomas, you can bet the Phillies are gauging that interest this week among every possible major league suitor.

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