Despite falling to 6.5 games back of the American League’s second Wild Card spot after their 8-2 loss to the Texas Rangers Friday, the Baltimore Orioles don’t appear to be giving in just yet. In a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, the O’s have added much-needed starting rotation depth by acquiring 30-year-old right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. The deal was first broken by MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman on Twitter:
orioles are acquiring hellickson
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 29, 2017
Hellickson was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night, offering a big hint that a trade was imminent. Sure enough, the deal has been completed with the Orioles with Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com reporting that OF Hyun Soo Kim, LHP Garrett Cleavinger, and international bonus money are headed the other way to Philadelphia.
The deal comes as somewhat of a surprise considering Baltimore’s position in the AL Wild Card race, with many believing that the Orioles were ready to become sellers in advance of the July 31st MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. Instead, the Orioles have elected to add a new arm in the starting rotation to help their push up the standings as they attempt to close the gap between themselves and the Kansas City Royals currently holding down the second Wild Card spot.
In 20 starts this season for the Phillies, Hellickson owns a 4.73 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 112.1 innings of work. The Orioles will be hoping Hellickson can rekindle his 2016 form, when he posted a very solid 3.71 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in a career-high 32 starts for Philadelphia.
The trade also marks the third time the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year has been dealt in the last four seasons, first going from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014 and then from the D-backs to the Phillies in 2015. Hellickson’s name had been brought up frequently in trade chatter in advance of the deadline a season ago, but a trade didn’t ultimately materialize.
Kim will head to the City of Brotherly Love after signing a two year, $7-million contract with the Orioles in 2015. Despite hitting .302 in 305 at-bats in his first year with the Orioles, Kim has struggled in 2017, with a .232 average and .593 OPS in 56 games this season.
Cleavinger, 23, was a third round pick of the Orioles in 2015 and has spent the entirety of this season to date with the Bowie Baysox, Baltimore’s Double-A Eastern League affiliate. He has amassed 42 strikeouts across 38.2 innings while recording a 6.28 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 27 appearances out of the bullpen for the Baysox.