Phillies Use Financial Strength in Hellickson, Kendrick Deals
The Phillies made a pair of moves Friday night, shipping pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Baltimore Orioles and Howie Kendrick to the Washington Nationals. In both trades, the Phillies used their financial strength to not only trade the players for prospects but to acquire something more: International slot money. Here is a look at the two trades and what they brought the Phillies.
Trade #1: Hellickson and cash to Baltimore for pitcher Garrett Cleavinger, first baseman/outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, and international slot money.
This trade was about the Phillies unloading Hellickson to make way for young starters such as Ben Lively or Zach Eflin, both of whom are pitching at Triple-A Lehigh Valley or Jake Thompson, who won Friday's game after Hellickson was scratched and earned himself another start on Wednesday in Anaheim.
It was also about extra international slot money. Each team is allotted a certain amount of money to spend on international free agents. Teams may exceed their slot, but if they do so, they will incur penalties that could severely limit teams from signing big names the following year and the overages are taxed dollar-for-dollar. Teams can, however, trade with teams for additional slot money.
While the Phillies jumped on signing shortstop Luis Garcia (not to be confused with the pitcher) when the international free agent signing period began on July 2, I noticed that while most teams jumped on free agents, the Orioles had not yet signed anyone. Maybe the Orioles are looking to save some money, so the Phillies entered and happily took some of it. They have until July 1 to spend it.
Hyun Soo Kim is a straight salary dump for the Orioles. Signed to a two-year, $7 million deal prior to last season, the former Korean KBO League MVP never held on to a starting job in Baltimore. The Phillies might be best served by designating Kim for assignment to free up the roster spot. However, Kim is set to join the Phillies on Friday.
Cleavinger has a 6.28 ERA in 27 games for Double-A Bowie. The word on Cleavinger is that he's still very raw, but has some talent. The Phillies will look to develop him at Double-A Reading. The
So the Orioles stopped some of the bleeding from their starting rotation, which suffered through six Alec Asher starts and saved a few million dollars.
Trade #2: Kendrick and cash to the Washington Nationals for pitcher McKenzie Mills and international slot money.
McKenzie Mills is a legitimate prospect. This was a case where the Nationals were looking for offensive help after being down left fielder Jayson Werth and shortstop Trea Turner. Kendrick likely will play a lot of left field for the Nationals while Werth recovers. Without much money to spend, the Nationals ponied up a bigger prospect in exchange for the Phillies picking up all but the major league minimum on Kendrick.
Mills was 12-1 with a 3.01 earned run average for Class-A Hagerstown and was just promoted to Class-A Advanced Potomac, but did not get a chance to pitch there. He will head to Clearwater and slot right into the starting rotation, which has seen some of their talent promoted to Double-A Reading. Mills has an 0.95 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings.
The Phillies also added even further to their international slot money.
With Pat Neshek preceding Hellickson and Kendrick in being traded, the Phillies have traded their most obvious trade candidates. The Phillies could still move the likes of Tommy Joseph, Joaquin Benoit, and maybe even Luis Garcia (the pitcher, not the shortstop), who has now thrown 21 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Who knows: maybe the Phillies will jump in as a third party to another deal to eat some more money and take back more prospects or signing dollars.
The Phillies have the money and they are going to use it.