Boiling Point: Last Night’s Swap of Hellickson and Kim is Final Straw

Hyun-soo Kim of the Orioles runs the bases.
GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Last night, the Orioles traded OF Hyun-Soo Kim, minor league LHP Garrett Cleavinger, and international bonus pool money for RHP Jeremy Hellickson and cash considerations in a deadline deal that makes me feel a lot of angry emotions.

I’m not mad that we traded Kim away. I get it; he wasn’t being put to use in Baltimore. I’m also not mad that we acquired a little starting pitching help in order to take some innings away from Dylan Bundy. I get that, too. What frustrates me is the continued incompetence of this organization. I don’t even know where to begin.

The problem with Hellickson is that he is not good. He strikes out 5.21 batters per nine innings, the second worst rate among all pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings. His 35.1% ground ball rate is the seventh worst in baseball. His 5.50 FIP is fifth worst in baseball and his 5.39 xFIP is the second worst mark in the game. He also surrenders the tenth most home runs per nine innings, which will not translate well to hitter-friendly Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

His only redeeming quality, if you can even call it that, is his “ability” to eat innings better than anybody else on the staff and subsequently give Bundy’s arm a break. Hellickson averages 5.2 innings per start, in comparison to Ubaldo’s 5.1 and Wade Miley’s 5.0, but whatever. He’s still technically the best innings-eater in the rotation. My point is that he’s not worth anything, let alone a serviceable outfielder and a 23-year-old left-handed pitcher. Plus, we only have him for two months, as he is a free agent after this season. If we really wanted an extra arm to alleviate Bundy, we have these guys at Norfolk named Tyler Wilson, Gabriel Ynoa, Alec Asher, Jayson Aquino, Logan Verrett…all more than capable of filling that void for a couple months. And you don’t have to give up a damn thing for any of them.

On Cleavinger: sure, maybe he isn’t much of a prospect. After all, his statistics in the minors are not exactly trending in the right direction. That said, he’s still just 23 years old, he was a third-round pick just two seasons ago, and the Orioles have very few quality young arms. I’m not going to pretend I had faith that he would turn things around and become anything decent in our system, but you just never know. It’s dumb to give up on guys like that when you are supposed to be rebuilding your farm system.

GulfBird Photo/Craig Landefeld

Switching gears to Kim, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, he was not getting much playing time here. As much as that upsets me, it makes sense. Nobody saw Trey Mancini hitting as well as he has this season. The addition of Seth Smith, in addition to Mancini’s great season, essentially kicked Kim to the curb. Smith is a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder who gets on base at a pretty high clip, plays sub-par defense, and generally has trouble against left-handed pitching. Kim is a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder who gets on base at a pretty high…well, you get it. They’re basically the same player.

Oh, we also traded away some international bonus money. We should all be used to that by now, but that makes it no less infuriating. Angelos’s/Duquette’s refusal to sign international players makes no sense at all. It’s not like Jonathan Schoop, our only All-Star from this season, was an international signing. Bite me, whoever is making this decision.

Not to mention, this trade happened on a night in which former Orioles farmhand Ariel Miranda set his career high with ten strikeouts while hurling his eighth quality start of the season, and another one that got away, Parker Bridwell, allowed three hits and one run over 7.1 innings, improving his record with the Angels to 5-1 and lowering his ERA to 2.83.

I guess when it’s all said and done, this particular trade is not the root of my frustration. After all, it’s a very meh-for-meh swap. Instead, it pushed me over the edge. It reminded me how awful our general manager is at dumpster-diving for rotation “help.” It reminded me how annoying it is that our organization refuses to spend money internationally. It reminded me how horribly we treated last season’s OBP leader. It reminded me how much our organization sucks at developing promising young pitchers. I guess I could say it reminded me that sports are dumb and baseball is dumb and none of it really matters.

Duquette has to go. He’s received largely unwarranted credit for a team built mostly by Andy MacPhail. Our best hope for the future of this organization is to replace Duquette this offseason, if for no reason other than to bring in somebody who will be invested in the long-term (Duquette’s contract expires after next season) success of this franchise and figure out what the hell to do with Manny Machado. Trade him or sign him. It’s simple. Duquette is going to let him walk and the O’s will get nothing in return.

Sorry, I’m just really frustrated.

As we wait and see how the rest of this trade deadline goes (God help us) and mentally prepare ourselves for “Garrett Cleavinger, 2021 National League Cy Young Award Winner” headlines, please enjoy this thread put together by a friend of mine.

Best of luck in Philly, Hyun-Soo.

 

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About Ryan Blake

Ryan Blake
Ryan joined the Eutaw Street Report crew for the site's launch in 2013 having spent the 2012 season as a member of the Orioles' tarp crew. Before then, he had never really considered writing, but has grown to enjoy sharing his opinions and is now ESR's "Hot Take" artist. In...more

8 Cheers on “Boiling Point: Last Night’s Swap of Hellickson and Kim is Final Straw

  1. avatarAnonymous on said:

    I could not agree with you more. I have been saying the same thing about Dan for two years now as we watched him give away Arietta, Davies, etc. for nothing!

  2. avatarMark on said:

    While I feel like giving away Arietta had to happen as he wasn’t going to improve here, Davies, Bridwell, and Rodriguez up in Boston, never had a chance to succeed on the major league roster and we’re seeing what they can do for other teams. I’m with you about this just being a straw breaking the camel’s back rather than it being a sole point of concern. The decision making is just boggling.

  3. avatarAnonymous on said:

    There isn’t a person in Baltimore, that wanted to keep Arrieta. If you say you are I call you a liar. I don’t recall anyone clamoring for Davies, Ariel, or Bridwell either.

  4. avatarLee on said:

    He’s not going to do anything it started when Angelos wouldn’t let him go to Toronto What has he done? Lost Chen picked up Miley the walk king who gets rocked every start. Tillman is done he cant keep the ball out of the middle of the plate because he can’t throw strikes with bad shoulder and now is blowing up Gausman and Bundys arm to make up for them Jimenez done hasn’t done anything in 4 years. Now Britton on trading block with bad arm. Oh let’s not forget about Davis 162 million with 200 strikeouts The bullpen can’t keep a lead Oday and Brach same thing can’t keep ball out of middle of plate You get what you pay for and Angelos won’t buy Aces and without pitching welcome to the cellar of the AL East

  5. avatarSessh on said:

    Kim had no problem hitting lefties in Korea and, in fact, hit them equally well as he hit righties. Buck never liked Kim from the start and never gave him a chance to play every day against righties and lefties. He was rewarded for his 2016 showing by being benched the following year.

    Kim, if given an everyday starting job in left field for a team in 2018 (and I believe he will find one), look for him to put up Ichiro-like slash lines with more doubles and home runs, but far less steals and without the elite defensive abilities. He could very easily slash somewhere in the neighborhood of .300/.400/.450 good for an .850 OPS. While he was able to get every day time with Philly for awhile, he was impressive in September before Altherr returned to the lineup. Kim has no business starting over anyone in Philly right now, so his chance will be in 2018 and someone will give it to him. He is a breakout candidate for 2018.

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