July 28, 2017: OF Hyun Soo Kim, LHP Garrett Cleavinger and international bonus slot money to Phillies for RHP Jeremy Hellickson
Grade: I — Incomplete (obviously)
In a trade hot off the coals, Duquette on Friday acquired veteran righty Hellickson, who was 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies this season. Obviously, it’s too early to give any kind of grade, but the deal is a head-scratcher on the surface. The trade was announced just after an Orioles loss that dropped them to 48-54 and 6 1/2 games back of the Kansas City Royals for the second wild card spot — with five other teams between them. Considering the Orioles’ fading chances of making the postseason — they are 50-54 today — it’s difficult to understand their interest in Hellickson, a pending free agent who is a marginal rotation upgrade.
While this trade likely won’t help the Orioles, it likely won’t come back to haunt them, either. They gave up the struggling Cleavinger, who had a 6.38 ERA at Double-A Bowie, and international bonus slot money, which the Orioles inexplicably refuse to spend anyway. And to help offset salaries, they threw in Kim, who lost his starting job this season and has hit .232 with a .593 OPS in a bench role. It’s sad to see the Orioles’ career of Kim, who overcame an awful spring training and fan backlash in 2016 to post a .382 OBP that year, come to such an anticlimactic end.