Not too long after shipping Howie Kendrick to the Nationals late Friday night, the Phillies and Orioles completed a deal that will send right-hander Jeremy Hellickson to Baltimore.
Deal done: Hellickson and cash to Orioles for OF Hyun Soo Kim, LHP Garrett Cleavinger and international amateur signing bonus pool space.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 29, 2017
The Phillies acquired Hellickson in the offseason prior to the 2015 season from the Diamondbacks. He was a trade chip leading into last year's deadline, but didn't get dealt and the Phils brought him back for $17.2 million in 2017 on a qualifying offer. In 52 starts for the Phils over the last two seasons, the 30-year-old veteran starter went 18-15 with a 4.09 ERA. This season, Hellickson hasn't been as reliable as 2016, posting a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts after sporting a 3.71 ERA last year.
Minor league left-hander Garrett Cleavinger is headed to the Phillies organization in the deal. Ranked as the No. 27 prospect in the Orioles organization by MLB.com, the 23-year-old has struggled thus far in Double-A this season, posting a 2-4 record to go along with a 6.28 ERA in 27 appearances. Cleavinger, selected in the third round of the 2015 draft, was a Class 'A' South Atlantic League All-Star last season for the Delmarva Shorebirds, going 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 17 appearances prior to his promotion to High-A ball. Here's MLB.com's scouting report on him…
A stocky left-hander, Cleavinger's fastball will touch 96 mph but typically sits in the 89-92 mph range. His curveball plays as average, registering in the low 70s with good shape and depth, though at times he struggles to get on top of it. The pairing helped Cleavinger pile up 102 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings in 2016, although his control regressed with the move up to the Carolina League. Meanwhile, the development of a usable changeup should help Cleavinger avoid being relegated to a LOOGY.
Cleavinger's deceptive delivery and the fact that he hides the ball well makes his stuff play up and makes him naturally tough to barrel. That being said, the effort in the delivery does raise questions about his overall strike-throwing ability. The Orioles considered developing Cleavinger as a starter in 2016 but ultimately decided to keep him in the bullpen, where his two average-or-better pitches and deception give him greater impact potential.
In addition to Cleavinger, the O's sent big league outfielder Hynn Soo Kim to the Phils. In 56 games this season, Kim is hitting .232 with a homer and 10 RBIs. He's a career .281 hitter in the Majors. Kim fills the need for a utility outfielder following the departure of Howie Kendrick earlier on Friday night.
What does this trade mean for the Phillies rotation? As of right now, they have a few options. After Hellickson was scratched on Friday, Jake Thompson made a spot start and and hurled five shutout innings, scattering five hits while walking two and striking out five. Another option at the minor league level would be Tom Eshelman (7-2, 2.14), who's dominated since joining Triple-A Lehigh Valley.