PHILS FINALLY DEAL HELLICKSON FOR OF KIM, RELIEVER CLEAVINGER!

By Sam Bush

After a year of trying, the Phillies finally pulled the trigger on a Jeremy Hellickson trade:

They sent the right-hander with a 5.99 ERA to the Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim (above), minor league reliever Garrett Cleavinger and international signing bonus money. The Orioles also received cash back from the Phillies.

Hellickson, who had a 4.73 ERA in 112 1/3 innings with the Phillies, was scratched from his scheduled start last night because of both the possibility of a trade and wet field conditions in Philly.

A former top prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays, the 30-year-old Hellickson was named American League Rookie of the Year in 2011. He was strong again in 2012, but two down years and an escalating salary caused the Rays to move him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014. Hellickson had a 4.62 ERA there before he was dealt to the Phillies ahead of the 2016 season.

He experienced a resurgence with the Phils, posting a 3.71 ERA with the cellar-dwelling Phillies last season, and accepted the club’s one-year qualifying offer worth $17.2 million to stay for 2017.

Kim’s trade ends a tumultuous two years that saw the South Korean star transform from misfit to mainstay with the Orioles in 2016 before he fell out of favor this year.

After signing a two-year, $7 million contract to join the Orioles from the Korean Baseball Organization ahead of the 2016 season, the 29-year-old Kim badly struggled when he arrived at his first spring training.

It took him weeks to get his first hit, and the club ultimately tried to have him start the season in the minors. But Kim exercised his right of refusal and made the Opening Day roster, only to be booed by some fans at Camden Yards.

Before long, he became a popular figure on the team, with his selective approach endearing him to fans who thought the Orioles needed more on-base capability. Manager Buck Showalter eased him into major league life and ultimately put him in the lineup as a regular against right-handed pitching by the end of May.

He ended the year hitting .302 with an .801 OPS and was primed for a full year of that platoon role in 2017, even opting not to play in the World Baseball Classic in order to better prepare for the season.

 

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