O's trade Kim and Cleavinger to Phillies for Hellickson - my take on the 'buy' trade - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

O’s trade Kim and Cleavinger to Phillies for Hellickson — my take on the ‘buy’ trade

Photo credits: Joy R. Absalon and Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

In their first deal before Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline, the Orioles decided to be buyers, acquiring 30-year-old right-handed starter Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, Double-A reliever Garrett Cleavinger and international bonus money.

A pending free agent, Hellickson is 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts. He was scratched from Friday’s start in anticipation of the trade. Hellickson was a free agent last year, when he was 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts for the Phillies, but he decided to accept Philadelphia’s $17.2 million qualifying offer.

“Hellickson is a solid, dependable, veteran major league starter who knows how to win in the AL, whose skill should provide some quality innings for the O’s,” Dan Duquette, Orioles executive vice president, said.

The former Tampa Bay Ray – he was 40-36 with a 3.78 ERA from 2010 to 2014 there– hasn’t been nearly as effective for the Phillies this season, allowing 111 hits (and 22 homers) in 112 1/3 innings while walking 30 and striking out 65.

Kim, who batted .302 for the Orioles last year but became a seldom-used bench option this season – hitting just .232 with one homer in 125 at-bats – is also a free agent at season’s end.

Cleavinger, 23, was the Orioles’ third rounder in 2015 out of the University of Oregon. The lefty appeared in 27 games for the Bowie Baysox, pitching to a 6.28 ERA and allowing 38 hits and 23 walks in 38 2/3 innings this year.

No word on how much the Orioles gave up in international bonus money – which they never spend anyway — but since Kim was owed a couple million for the rest of this season and Hellickson will still receive roughly $8 million on his 2017 deal, the money had to be bridged, at least somewhat, for the trade to work.

My take:

On getting Hellickson: Well, Duquette said he wanted to improve the rotation, and he did. Hellickson will take the ball every fifth day and doesn’t give in. He also throws strikes, which will be a welcomed treat. The problem is he is a flyball pitcher and he’s not fared particularly well in Camden Yards: a 5.01 ERA in 46 2/3 innings through nine career outings (eight starts) in Baltimore. He has yielded nine home runs total in those games. So, he doesn’t look like a good fit, at least for the ballpark. However, it doesn’t appear the Orioles gave up a lot for him – a Double-A reliever and Kim, who wasn’t playing anyway. And it’d be almost impossible for Hellickson to be a rotation downgrade.


On trading Kim: This is only a surprise in that I didn’t think there’d be a market for him. And there may not have been. But he was part of a deal, and probably thrown in mainly to balance out some of the money owed to Hellickson. Kim was a great story last year, but the Orioles buried him this year after Trey Mancini emerged as an everyday player. So, the narrative is disappointing – Kim was a great guy who fit in well and worked his tail off – but he wasn’t gonna get much action for this team unless there was an injury.

On dealing Cleavinger: The Orioles had high hopes for the lefty, but it didn’t really materialize and he’s been victimized by the big inning this year. His fastball topped at 93 mph, usually sitting in the low 90s, and, besides a solid curveball, he didn’t have much else to baffle hitters. Sure, he could be another one of those guys that got away, but with the emergence of Donnie Hart and Richard Bleier and the presence of Tanner Scott at Double-A, Cleavinger sure looks expendable at this moment.

On sending away international bonus money: There once was a time I railed on this. But I’m sort of sick of that soapbox right now. The O’s aren’t spending money internationally – which I think is a huge mistake – so they might as well try to gain some value from it. Again, I think the Orioles’ lack of spending for at least mid-level amateurs in foreign countries is a mistake. But that’s for another day – almost every day, really.

On being buyers: I’m not sure this precludes the team from selling off a coveted piece – such as a top reliever — by Monday at 4 p.m. And Duquette did what he said he was going to do, try to get a better starter. I, for one, think this season has sailed on the Orioles and adding pieces doesn’t make a ton of sense. But adding a veteran via trade always makes the players within the clubhouse feel like they still have a chance, so we’ll see.

Bottom line: It doesn’t look like a particularly important move to me, no matter what happens. Hellickson, though he really doesn’t seem to be a Camden Yards kind of guy, appears to be a better option than what the Orioles have been rolling out there a couple times a week. Kim was expendable, simply because he didn’t play, and didn’t flourish in such limited opportunities. Cleavinger seems like a flier, whose upside is Bleier. So, I don’t give this one thumbs up or thumbs down. It’s more of a shrug-your-shoulders ‘huh?’ than a ‘meh’ to me. In fact, it’s primary purpose, at least for now, is to tell us the Orioles are still playing for 2017, which I haven’t exactly endorsed at 48-54 with 60 to play. I shake my head at that sentiment. Think it’s a mistake. But I guess you have to appreciate the spunk. And wait for Monday.



  1. Oriolesfan17

    July 29, 2017 at 1:18 am

    The thing that baffles me continually about the Orioles is the international bonus money. I have loved minor league baseball my whole life and go to probably 5-10 ballparks a year. This week I was at two rookie ball affiliates the Vermont Lake Monsters (As) and the Tri-City Valley Cats (Astros). On the Valley Cats at least half the team, 16 players by my count, were international signings. Now obviously most of those players won’t work out but if you get a solid major league and a bench player out of that it’s still better than having nothing at all. Vermont was very similar (although to a lesser extent) than Tri-City with only 7 international players.

    I do believe that the international system is completely unfair when compared to the draft system but if there is an opportunity there is no reason it shouldn’t be taken advantage of. I know DD has a history of success with these signings in other organizations so why does ownership have such an issue with it?

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 1:50 am

      Well, I believe the concept is that spending top dollar on 16 year olds from third-world countries that you don’t know much about is not a good investment. And, frankly, there are plenty of wasted millions on big-bonus guys there. For every eventual star that got a big international bonus, there are plenty we’ve never heard of. But what baffles me is their lack of spending $100K or so on a bunch of guys, spreading it out and seeing if any stick. Schoop was a $92,500 sign. So it can work. This is my big soapbox. Drives me bonkers.

      • Oriolesfan17

        July 29, 2017 at 7:24 am

        You articulated that a lot better than I did but that was basically my point. The Astros have one massive bonus guy on the Valley Cats and honest while he was the fastest guy and the field he was the worst player we saw in both games (had tons of speed and athketicism but no feel for the game whatsoever.

        I am in complete agreement with you though. The Oriokes don’t have do be in on the Wander Francos (3.5 mil) and Yoan Moncada’s (31 mil) to take a shot in a few $100,000 lottery tickets and just see what turns up. I mean look at the success you have with Schoop and even to me E-Rod on the Red Sox. Tell me 6 yrs if controllable talent is not worth it.

      • All_The_Way_Up

        July 29, 2017 at 9:38 am

        Maddening especially given Duq & Ferreira’s track record in this arena!!??

    • All_The_Way_Up

      July 29, 2017 at 9:36 am

      It’s a risk game, we’ve missed on high draft picks too. 30% of Major leaguers originate as international FA’s, I agree the org is severely limiting itself by failing to utilize this market. For a team that seems to pride itself on not being able spend with the Sox & Yanks its senseless for them not to pursue all avenues to improve without breaking the bank via the international market. Ownership doesn’t care , their way is a proven failure but nobody has been able to change their mind. The city & fanbase remains uninspired in their product

  2. Camden Bird

    July 29, 2017 at 2:51 am

    Dan, I’m right there with you. If there’s one thing that drives me absolutely crazy about this team (other than it’s utter incompetence in evaluating, drafting and developing starting pitchers) is their philosophy on the international market.

    Angelos and Co. feel like spending a couple million TOTAL to sign multiple Latin prospects (some of whom are the best prospects in the world) is a risk that the Orioles won’t take…but they’re perfectly fine with spending $3 million on just ONE high school pitcher? It makes me want to pull my hair out!!!

    I love the Orioles. I always have, and I always will. I’m about as passionate an Orioles fan as you’ll ever meet. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have absolutely no faith in the front office, and it’s discouraging when I think about this franchise’s future…unless there are wholesale changes from top to bottom in The Warehouse.

    • All_The_Way_Up

      July 29, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Same old problems….the issue is ownership

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 9:42 am

      The difference tho is that you almost have to spend that money on the draft. That’s what all teams do, the draft is. Plus, those kids have been scouted for years — college kids sometimes 6 years of scouting. So the book is much deeper. Listen this game is all about risk and reward. And international is highest risk. But as we agree, you need that component.

      • novaslim

        July 30, 2017 at 12:17 pm

        Not sure if I’m completely accurate here. But my understanding of the international signing philosophy here is that we don’t spend much in signing in that market because we don’t invest much in scouting there. Little scouting or academies & such. So why throw away resources down a hole where you haven’t laid the ground work. Love the podcasts. Love the reporting. Thank you for the contributions.

  3. Beeb

    July 29, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I don’t believe that the Orioles will trade one of their back-end relievers. I expect something from the DD quote machine related to not giving up. Reality is that he could never get something offered of any worth. Britton’s health and failure to go back-to-back have severely limited his trade worth. (I type this in the hope that I look completely wrong by Monday)

    • Oriolesfan17

      July 29, 2017 at 7:30 am

      I agree with you. I know that there are a lot of reports out of LA that the Dodgers weren’t intereted in the Orioles price anyway but that the Kershaw injury created a potential area of need (if you can call having like 7 starters being paid MLB money cost efficient in anyway). They will more likely trade for a Darvish or Gray.

      The Cubs I don’t think have the prospects to make a deal and therefore I don’t think the Orioles could work a deal with them without asking for one of their major ready guys. Trading a player on the MLB roster doesn’t make any sense because it’s counterprodictive to winning now.

      The Astros could be interested but if they know they’re the only team in might be inclined to not offer as much because as we’ve learned with the Orioles, what’s the point in bidding agaunst yourself.

    • Bancells Moustache

      July 29, 2017 at 9:15 am

      I don’t think Britton’s value has been as diminished as you think. He hasn’t looked like the unhittable Angel of Death he was last year true, but I think a lot of that is rust, plus the fact that he is expected to throw the best sinker in the world in the 9th inning to a guy that doesn’t stop balls in the dirt doesn’t help things either. Both of those are fixable. Anyone who picks up Britton doesn’t give a damn how he looks in the regular season anyhow. They’re bringing him in for the sole purpose of dominating in the playoffs

    • All_The_Way_Up

      July 29, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Think about the haul they’d have received if Britton was traded this past offseason as many clamored for?? Another mismanaged situation

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Totally agree w Stache here. I talk to people in other orgs. Lots. There’s a slight concern since Britton missed a lot of time and no one wants damaged goods. But really there’s no added concern because of recent results. Everything is there besides command. And the guess is he’s rusty/just trying too hard. His value is still very high. As for if you are/were gonna deal him, his optimum value was this winter bc of his dominance and relief obsession and 2 yrs control. I wrote it then. But trust me his value is still sky high. Anything else is fan speculation on what have you done lately. That’s not baseball industry reality.

  4. Osfan73

    July 29, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Hellickson would’ve been more help to the rotation a few weeks ago. This seems more about depth than making a WC. He’ll eat some innings and absorb any additional damage the rest of the way, but I don’t see him as a big difference maker. It would take a pair of ace type starters to drag the Os into the playoffs this year and the pieces aren’t there for such a deal to be made. Could we also be giving him a look for next year even though he’s to be a FA?? Maybe, maybe not, but would still need to do more. In the meantime lets see what he can do.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    July 29, 2017 at 7:59 am

    What the hell?

    • Bancells Moustache

      July 29, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Now that my initial confusion has worn off and I’ve had my coffee… what the hell?!

      I suppose the one thing I glean from this is that amongst the three dead-weights in the rotation, Mssrs. Tillman, Jimenez and Miley, the music has just stopped and one of them is going to find them self without a chair.

    • JCO

      July 29, 2017 at 9:48 am

      The hell, indeed.

      DD has had way more success as a big league GM than any of us will ever have, but I just don’t understand this one. A fly ball pitcher brought in to pitch at the Camden Yards ballfield and bandbox.

      Yeah, we all know what happens next. Anyone want to go with where his season-ending ERA will end up? I’m thinking over 5. We’ve seen this movie before. Although I saw on the Twitter thing last night that maybe the Orioles are shutting down Bundy….Dan, have you heard anything about that?

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 9:51 am

      That is a likely byproduct.

  6. Teejay

    July 29, 2017 at 8:20 am

    My two cents…..this is a low risk deal and if the O’s get swept in Texas they could use Hellickson as a trade chip Monday (I absolutely don’t think that will happen however we’ve all seen stranger things at the trade deadline).

    The question I have is which five of the ineffective does he replace? Is he going to take Tillman’s roster spot? Am I mistaken or didn’t Buck elude to maybe sending Chris down to get him straightened out or is this the acquisition that finally signals the end of the Jimenez era in Baltimore or is he here to lighten the Bundy workload or is he replacing the enigmatic Miley?

    We’re all pretty smart here so y’all get my drift!

    • All_The_Way_Up

      July 29, 2017 at 9:43 am

      I’m completely on board if this deal means Miley or UBALDO get dumped

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 9:53 am

      Yeah. Replacing one that you mentioned seems likely. But it also seems like Bundy inning insurance if the wild card is lost.

  7. garyintheloo

    July 29, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I appreciate Kim but his signing pointed out the poor scouting the Os have made internationally (remember Soon?) . Of more immediate concern if they still think they can win with this club how do they prepare for 2018? I have the sick feeling they don’t do anything noteworthy by the end of the trade deadline and we head into a gloomy off season. The first round picks we gave up for Cruz , Jimenez and Gallardo might be ready to contribute next year. I still wonder what they saw in DJ Stewart who has no position and needed a drastic change in his batting stance after they signed him. Bartender, another one down and 13 more to go!

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 9:57 am

      This trade certainly on the surface gives the vibe they aren’t selling anyone off.

  8. All_The_Way_Up

    July 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

    It’s kind of cute that they think they are still in it. This move makes little to no difference however if Kim takes off in Philly and/or elsewhere after this season Showalter should be put on notice, Kim did not get the long leash that Buck has given to many bad players here.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 10:01 am

      No question that Buck sticks with his guys with “track records.” Tho let’s not forget Kim was primarily buried by Mancini and it’s hard to argue w that. I suppose Kim could have platooned w Trumbo, but I, too, would prefer Trumbo for the run producing capacity. And Kim didn’t hit when Davis went down. Tough spot and short leash. No doubt.

  9. Bancells Moustache

    July 29, 2017 at 10:00 am

    You know, the more I think about it, the possibilty Hellickson never sees a Black and Orange jersey makes more sense. Los Angeles wanted Britton. Then Kershaw went down and word is their focus shifted to starters a la Gray and Darvish. Wouldn’t a package of both a dominant reliever and a starter who, while hardly on the level of a Darvish, can at least fill in until Kershaw returns,wouldn’t that be extremely enticing to a team in the Dodgers position?

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 10:02 am

      I dunno. Hellickson was on market forever and price was minimal. Dodgers could have done it themselves in an eyeblink.

      • Bancells Moustache

        July 29, 2017 at 10:21 am

        Perhaps. I’m just spitballin Dan-o but I can’t figure out any other way this deal makes sense. Buster Olney mentioned on the radio yesterday that not only do Orioles not seem to see the contractual Iceberg they are sailing towards, they seem to be accelerating towards it. So they bring in a two month rental for a team anyone can see is headed nowhere (well, anyone but our esteemed purveyor of all things optimistic, Boog)

        • All_The_Way_Up

          July 29, 2017 at 11:26 am

          Pushing for another magical “competitive” season I suppose

  10. woody

    July 29, 2017 at 11:46 am

    When are we going to talk about Parker Bridwell?

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      I’d give it a little more time. But I’d rather talk about him than Miranda and Davies, both of whom I still don’t believe could have thrived at Camden Yards. Bridwell, tho, may be a different case.

      • woody

        July 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

        Completely agree on Miranda and you’ve made some great points on his numbers away from Safeco. Bridwell looks to certainly be a case of another team seeing something the O’s didn’t though, given how quickly they stretched him out and threw him into the Majors as a starter.

  11. TxBirdFan

    July 29, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I agree with this being an interim measure. I was at the game last night and one thing I don’t understand is why Buck doesn’t pull his starters sooner. I understand he supports his veterans, but this is getting old. Tillman walked the lead off batter and went down hill from there. We have a good pen, but when you’re down by 5, 6 or 7 runs by the 5th it has to be demoralizing for the players, not to mention the Os fans who are sitting on their hands. Me included. Bottom line is that If Hellickson just keeps us in the game better than our current crop of starters then it’s a good trade.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Sometimes there’s just a lost margin there. It’s demoralizing. The real problem isn’t leaving them in too long. It’s why the hell 5-0 happens so damn often.

  12. Steve Cockey

    July 29, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Kim wasn’t playing and the international money never gets spent, so I don’t have any problem relinquishing either. But Hellickson obviously isn’t moving the needle and it’s very debatable whether he’s any better than what’s already in Baltimore or even sitting at AAA. For 2 months of that, I personally wouldn’t have given up a young arm of any kind.

  13. Creatively_19

    July 29, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I’ll miss Kim and I hope he has a better chance to get some playing time in Philly. As for the O’s obtaining a starter, I think it was a move the team had to make regardless of whether or not they’re playing meaningful games in September. Dan C has already mentioned it here but I see it purely as a way to protect Bundy down the stretch. If the O’s aren’t competing there’s absolutely no need to risk injury to him by racking up innings. If they are, the team certainly has the roster flexibility to move to a 6 man rotation to allow for extra rest for guys. In fact my money is more on Bundy being moved to the bullpen with this move because the team isn’t concerned with over pitching the impending free agents.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      I think the Bundy factor plays a little into this, as you say

  14. c Soprano

    July 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    This move is so bad it reeks of PGA. MASN people , Hunter & Roch will try and spin this when they should be questioning why aren’t the Orioles the most active seller? Dan’s moves, Trumbo, O’Day, Davis, Yo, Parra, etc are one bad move after another. I’m convinced Pete is giving an impossible directive based on payroll flexibility, farm system and realistic chance to somehow beat NY in NY, get through Houston, then Boston/Cleveland with the worst pitching staff in baseball, oh that actually got worse because of this trade.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      OK. Calm down. 1. This pitching staff didn’t get worse w the Hellickson acquisition. Did it make it markedly better? I doubt it. But it’s not worse. Have ya seen this rotation? 2. I know many fans dislike Angelos. But these are the instances where I really don’t think he has anything to do with anything except Oking the move and salary. This type of decision is below his pay grade.

  15. MReingold

    July 29, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I think a part of this trade that I have not seem mentioned is that by opening Kim’s roster space, they make for for Anthony Santander, the Rule 5 selection who has been injured all season and now is on his minor league injury rehab at Bowie.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Yeah, but not really cuz Hellickson had to be added to the 25man. Santander will be activated in August. Rosters expand in September. While it’s easier to add Santander without Kim I’m not sure it was crucial.

  16. Stacey

    July 29, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Dan – I have heard comments here and there that one reason the Orioles stay away from the international market in Latin America is because Peter Angelos doesn’t like the way business is conducted down there (the corruption with the buscones, etc). Do you know if there is any truth to that? It sounds believable to me given what we know about Mr. Angelos, and if that really is the reason then I feel less anger about it even though it does hurt the team.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 29, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Haven’t heard that specifically. But doesn’t surprise me that that would be a factor.

  17. Amazing

    July 29, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Dan, I am with you 100%. It’s not really the trade that upsets me, it is the philosophy.

  18. monkeyhouse

    August 2, 2017 at 10:12 am

    These trades, especially Hellickson are what Dan does every year about this time. None of the trades surprised me. Hearing that nobody was giving up much for Britton, I kinda figured we’d keep him. I see no sense in trading him for low significance players. What surprises me most is how quickly everyone forgets how great our weak starting rotation was earlier this season. If the Orioles don’t go through that slump they appear to have started to come out of, nobody would care about the trades they made. I’ve never really been sold on Duquette, but I was not an Andy fan either and we still have players he brought here, so I’ll just keep watching quietly from afar. lol.

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