Evaluating the Hellickson Deal

By Scott Benzing
Jul. 29, 2017

Last night the Orioles traded outfielder Hyun Soo Kim and minor leaguer Garrett Cleavinger to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.

In 2017 with the Phillies, Hellickson went was 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA over 112.1 IP. At this point, he would be the Orioles staff ace.

The Orioles gave up platoon player Hyun Soo Kim in the deal. The outfielder was slashing .232/.305/.288 in only 125 at-bats. They also gave up reliever Garrett Cleavinger who in AA Bowie was 2-4 with a 6.28 ERA. To offset remaining cost of deal they gave international signing bonus slots to the Phillies.

This deal came at an interesting time for both organizations. Obviously the Phillies aren't looking to contend in the 2017 campaign, while the Orioles believe that they still can overcome a 6.5 game deficit into playoff contention.

The Phillies are just trying to get through the season and get any possible gain from it. Hyun Soo Kim adds an OBP hitter while dumping the rest of the 17.2 million owed to Hellickson. Logical guess is that Jake Thompson moves back to the rotation as their number 5 starter while an outfielder and reliever get added to make up for the subtractions of utility man Howie Kendrick yesterday and the subtraction of Pat Neshek on Wednesday.

From the Orioles standpoint this move raises questions on the rest of their deadline plans. Jeremy Hellickson is a solid starter, but he cannot take this rotation where they need to go by himself. Even though this appears to be a move that a buyer would make the Orioles still could look to move their big name relievers and pending FAs. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Orioles are still shopping former All Star relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach.

While being an interesting timed trade, this trade works well for the Orioles. They got rid of a roster spot that was not being used in Kim and a struggling arm from Bowie while getting rotation help that they desperately need. It should be interesting to see the next move that they make for their 25 man roster. Manager Buck Showalter likes having a 7 man bullpen and 4 man bench, this move gives them 8 and 3.

Assuming they don't run a 6 man rotation, the next move should be a pitcher off the roster and a position player getting the call up. Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley are the 2 pitchers most Oriole fans want gone, however neither would make sense at this point in time. Jimenez is coming off one of his best starts of 2017, while Miley might be the move I don't expect the Orioles to remove him from the organization or 25 man.

An overthought prediction is that the Orioles will trade a reliever and recall Craig Gentry from AAA Norfolk. Whether it is Britton or Brach traded I don't know, but if they are trying to trade them then this is their opportunity.

Last thoughts on this trade- it's a minor deal that is a salary dump for Philadelphia, who continues their tear down and a sign of more moves to come for the Orioles, who could be starting theirs.