A few nights ago, the MLB trade market was active. There were three trades completed Friday evening, all of which involved teams in the NL East. One of those trades also involved the Baltimore Orioles, as they acquired starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies.
In exchange, the O’s sent outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, minor league lefty Garrett Cleavinger and some international bonus money to the Phils. But the fact that the Orioles, who are widely expected to sell, are adding a starting pitcher, leads to the question, why make such a move?
Following play on Sunday evening, Baltimore sat four games under .500, with a 50-54 record following a win over the Texas Rangers. That record is good for fourth in the AL East, which is 6.5 games behind the division leading New York Yankees. As for the Wild Card, they are 5.5 games back, and need to leap frog five clubs to make it into the playoff picture.
As a result, adding an inning eater type of arm, who is no more than above average, is not exactly the type of move that turns a team’s season around. Sure the team has been below average in the rotation, but adding Hellickson honestly does not do much to change that.
This is not a move for the future either. Hellickson, who is 30 years old, is pitching on a one-year deal. After the season, he becomes a free agent once more as he looks to enter his age 31 season. His current 4.73 ERA and 1.26 WHIP are not exactly going to draw tons of looks. Nor will they be of much service to the Orioles in terms of being a better ball club.
The only reasoning for the move is the O’s wanted another arm to help eat some innings the remainder of the season. They did not give up much for the acquisition, but still, you need to question if giving away assests is really worth it just so a guy can eat some innings. Why not just call up someone from the minors and give them a look instead?
The club won’t miss Kim much, as he is hitting .232 in 141 at-bats on the season. Cleavinger is currently struggling his way through Double-AA this season. His ceiling is not that high, but he still could turn into a potential back-end of the rotation or bullpen type of arm with an average fastball and curve.
Then there is the international bonus money. The Orioles simply do not value this asset, as they part ways with it in a move like this. But it is still something that could be considered more useful than a rental arm who is no better than average.
So Orioles’ fans, what do you think? Do you understand the move? Is the minimal package given away make up for the head scratching move? Tell us what you think in the comments!