ARLINGTON -- Are the Orioles buyers or sellers? That's been one of the biggest questions surrounding this Baltimore club the past few weeks as rumors have swirled that numerous players are available to be traded, and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette saying last week that the O's
ARLINGTON -- Are the Orioles buyers or sellers? That's been one of the biggest questions surrounding this Baltimore club the past few weeks as rumors have swirled that numerous players are available to be traded, and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette saying last week that the O's are still trying to win this season.
On Friday, Duquette showed his hand, trading for Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson in an effort to boost an underperforming rotation. Hellickson -- who was scratched Friday due to inclement weather and trade speculation -- gives a thin Orioles pitching staff another arm without sacrificing any top prospects. The Orioles, who also received cash considerations in the deal, sent outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, left-hander Garrett Cleavinger and international amateur signing bonus pool space to the Phillies.
Hellickson is expected to be inserted immediately into the rotation upon his arrival, though who he replaces is an interesting case. While Chris Tillman has the rotation's highest ERA, Ubaldo Jimenez has been inconsistent in the final year of a four-year, $50 million deal.
"Hellickson is a solid, dependable veteran Major League starter who knows how to win in the American League," Duquette wrote in a text to MLB.com. "[He] should provide some quality innings for the O's."
The last-place Phillies had been trying to trade Hellickson, who will be a free agent following the season, for quite some time. He is 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts. He's also owed more than $6 million for this season, though Philadelphia has been rumored to be willing to cover some of his remaining salary to move him.
Friday's trade was more of a necessity for the healthy of the pitching staff, giving the O's some much-needed rotational depth.The rotation, which saw Tillman give up eight runs in Friday's 8-2 loss to the Rangers, ranks at or near the bottom in nearly every statistical category. The only starter with an ERA under 5.00 is Dylan Bundy (4.53) as Baltimore finds itself 6 1/2 games out of the AL Wild Card race.
In Hellickson, the O's are hoping to gain some consistent innings without giving up anything significant. Hellickson has averaged 30 starts per season every year but 2014, when he had an elbow injury, and he's on pace to hit that mark again in '17.
The 30-year-old Hellickson is familiar with the AL East, having come up through the Rays' system. In five seasons with Tampa Bay, Hellickson posted a 3.78 ERA.
Kim was a rarely-used bench player whose playing time was further diminished with the ascent of rookie Trey Mancini. Like Hellickson, he will be a free agent at the end of the season. Cleavinger -- ranked as the organization's 27th best prospect by MLBPipeline.com -- is a lefty who was pitching for the club's Double-A affiliate.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.