In their second deal of the night and third in the last few days, the Phillies sent pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and a wallet full of cash to the Baltimore Orioles for two players and international slot room.
The players acquired were outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, a Korean player, who was hitting just .232 in 56 games with the Orioles this season. The 29-year old hit .302 last season, his first in the U.S. Phillies GM Matt Klentak said that Kim will be kept on the major league roster, basically taking the place of Howie Kendrick, who was earlier dealt to the Washington Nationals for left-hander McKenzie Mills. The Phillies, by virtue of Hellickson’s contract, can not send him to the minors without his consent and he is a free agent following the season.
Also acquired was Garrett Cleavinger, 23, who will be assigned to Double-A Reading. The lefty has made 27 relief appearances with Double-A Bowie this season, going 2-4-3, 6.28 with 23 walks and 42 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings of work. The Orioles took Cleavinger in the third round of the 2015 Draft out of the University of Oregon.
Coming into this season, Cleavinger had a minor league mark of 13-4 with a 2.84 ERA. Those numbers were all in leagues no higher than High-A ball, and Cleavinger struggled at that level as well, with a 4.82 ERA with Frederick in 20 games last season.
Klentak admitted to reporters that Cleavinger is a bit of a project.
“He’s a pretty interesting project to turn over to our player development program,” said the GM.
Having acquired international slot room in both the Kendrick and Hellickson trades, it’s believed that the Phillies have added around $1-million in slot room in the two days. That’s a considerable amount, considering that teams initially have $4.5-million to spend on international free agents.
Hellickson was in his second season with the Phillies after having surprised the team and accepted their qualifying offer over the Winter, guaranteeing him $17.2-million for this season. The cash that the Phillies sent to Baltimore will help pay down the remaining $6.1-million still owed to Hellickson this season. The 30-year old is eligible to become a free agent following the season.
The Phillies scratched Hellickson from his scheduled start Friday night shortly before the start of the game, tipping their hand that they were getting close to completing a trade for the right-hander. Jake Thompson made an emergency start and threw five shutout innings in the Phillies win over Atlanta Friday night. It’s possible that Thompson could stick in Hellickson’s spot, especially with the unknown status of starter Ben Lively, who took a line drive off of his leg Friday night in his start for Lehigh Valley.
In their three trades, the Phillies have added four pitchers – two right-handers and two left-handers – a fourth outfielder type in Kim, and a young shortstop for Pat Neshek, Kendrick and Hellickson. They’ve also included cash in the deals to pay down the veteran’s contracts and have received the international slot money in exchange.