Though it is a little early for the hot stove to be heating up, the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly beginning to lay the groundwork for a possible July trade.

According to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, the team has been open about their willingness to begin discussing a potential Jeremy Hellickson trade:

Phillies personnel have made it known they’ll listen on Hellickson in trade talks. Philadelphia re-signed Hellickson (4-1, 3.49 ERA) with the idea of using him to acquire more prospects before the trading deadline.

Hellickson, 30, returned to the Phillies this past offseason after accepting the club's $17.2 million qualifying offer. As part of the league's new CBA, the Phillies can't place a qualifying offer on Hellickson again this offseason. So if he left in free-agency, the team wouldn't get any compensation for him. That dramatically increases the likelihood that general manager Matt Klentak will move him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Through his first seven starts of the 2017 season, Hellickson is 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA. Those traditional stats have caused some -- myself included -- to wonder if it wouldn't make sense for the Phillies to attempt to sign Hellickson to a long-term deal to keep his stability in a young rotation. However, as our Jason Ferrie pointed out yesterday, his advanced metrics aren't pretty thus far, and suggest that his traditional statistics may begin to regress.