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Orioles acquire right-hander Jeremy Hellickson from Phillies for Hyun Soo Kim, more

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

The Orioles on Friday acquired right-hander Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies in an effort to bolster a rotation that has a 5.99 ERA.

In exchange, the Orioles sent outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, minor league reliever Garrett Cleavinger and international signing bonus money to the Phillies. The Orioles also received cash back from the Phillies.

Even as an 8-2 loss to the Texas Rangers dropped the Orioles to 48-54 and 6½ games out of a wild-card spot, executive vice president Dan Duquette is adding to the club instead of tearing it down, in hopes of reviving its slim playoff chances.

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

"Jeremy Hellickson is a solid, dependable, veteran major league starter who knows how to win in the American League,” Duquette said in a statement. “He should provide some quality innings for the Orioles."

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 in Philadelphia, 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.

He'll join an Orioles rotation that has failed to get firing in any meaningful way this year. Dylan Bundy's 4.53 ERA leads the bunch, though he's being moved around in the rotation to keep his innings down and his arm fresh in his first full year as a starter.

Wade Miley is 4-9 with a 5.69 ERA, while Opening Day starter Kevin Gausman takes the mound Saturday looking to bring down his own 5.79 ERA. Behind them are Ubaldo Jiménez (6.93 ERA) and Chris Tillman, whose ERA rose to 7.65 after allowing eight runs on nine hits in Friday's loss.

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.

But the late-spring transition of rookie Trey Mancini to the outfield, first as a right-handed platoon bat and eventually as an everyday player, led to Kim being phased out. He went back to playing sparingly, but unlike last season, didn't produce when he got in the lineup. He batted .232/.305/.288 in 56 games.

Kim’s inclusion likely offsets some of the money owed to Hellickson, and both of the major league components come off the books after this season.

Cleavinger, a third-round draft pick in 2015, had a 6.28 ERA this year at Double-A Bowie.

FoxSports.com first reported the Orioles' interest. FanRag Sports first reported the deal's completion.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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