Phillies GM Matt Klentak may have been looking at a second baseman
The Phillies failed to move anyone at the trade deadline, which came to some surprise. While a couple of their assets (Bourjos, Blanco) were hurt, many expected Jeremy Hellickson to be moved to a contending team.
Fast-forward to today, and Jeremy Hellickson is preparing to face the San Diego Padres Friday afternoon on the road. For weeks his name was one of many sprinkled into the hectic trade deadline rumors, but alas he is still here.
Wednesday afternoon on 97.5 The Fanatic, Phillies reporter Jayson Stark addressed the teams inability to move a quality pitcher in Hellickson.
Klentak is now planning on extending Hellickson a one-year qualifying offer with the hope he turns it down, and the team is granted a high compensation draft pick.
In Stark’s interview with drive-time host Mike Missanelli, the topic of which teams were involved in the Hellickson talks came up. One team was the Baltimore Orioles, where Klentak was the Director of Baseball Operations under Andy MacPhail.
According to his alma mater Dartmouth, Klentak would “assist President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail in scouting, player development, contract negotiations and the overall construction of the Major League roster” in Baltimore, where he’d have a pretty good idea of what players are in the system considering he probably scouted a large number one them.
Jayson Stark broke down the missed opportunity on 97.5 with Missanelli.
"I think there was an opportunity with the Orioles. Not a great system. I think the Phillies asked for a player on their big league team. They’re trying to win (in Baltimore) and they went the Wade Miley route."
This presents a similar situation to when the Phillies had their top scout watching the Texas Rangers. When you dwindled down the list of realistic players who fit the Phillies current 40-man roster and long-term plans, you get one player. In the case of the Rangers, it was infielder Jurickson Profar.
In the case of Hellickson and the Baltimore Orioles, that would be second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
The Phillies organization has a bit of a hole at second base. They are hoping Scott Kingery can develop quickly, and recently promoted him to Reading. However, it may take a couple more seasons until he is fully ready to take over full-time.
Side note: Kingery is hitting .289 in nine games with Reading.
Back to Schoop. He is a 24-year-old righty about to enter his first year of arbitration. He’s currently hitting .289 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs. That would be a tremendous upgrade over Cesar Hernandez in more ways than one.
Because of the arbitration rules, Schoop won’t become a free agent until 2020. That’s a good three seasons for Kingery to develop with a season and a half each in Reading and Lehigh Valley.
There are multiple reasons why this wouldn’t make sense for Baltimore to make even a straight-up Hellickson/Schoop swap. Jayson Stark pointed out the first thing, which is the Orioles are contenders. They aren’t giving away a 20 home run bat for a middle of the rotation pitcher.
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Additionally, Schoop is under team control until 2020. Baltimore would only have Hellickson for another three months at best.
Finally, Jayson Stark pointed out how thin the Orioles farm system is. The team would be equipped to have a replacement for Schoop if they traded him at the deadline. Baltimore does not have a second baseman listed within their top 30 prospects. The next player listed on their depth chart at second is Ryan Flaherty, a .221 hitter who hasn’t played the position all season.
J.J. Hardy has never played second, and neither has Manny Machado.
There are also no great free agent second basemen next season. You’re looking at Neil Walker, Chase Utley, Gordon Beckham, and a pile of bench players.
So while this idea made 100% sense in the eyes of Matt Klentak, it made zero for a contending Orioles team looking to simply add depth.