Phillies Grade the Trade: How’d Matt Klentak do at the trade deadline

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 30: Pat Neshek
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 30: Pat Neshek /
3 of 5
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 28: Jeremy Hellickson
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 28: Jeremy Hellickson /

It’s puzzling to see the Baltimore Orioles as buyers 6.5 games out of a difficult division, but the Phillies took advantage of a front office in denial.

Jeremy Hellickson could have brought back much more for the Phillies last year when he flashed some resemblance of his Rookie of the Year campaign in Tampa Bay. Klentak wanted the equivalent of a first round pick, which the Phillies were likely to receive if Hellickson had turned down the qualifying offer, a move that was expected around baseball.

After taking a step back towards his days with the Diamondbacks the Phillies were able to acquire two interesting pieces for the veteran righty. They finally added a left-handed pitching prospect to the farm system, something I’ve looked for in recent years through the draft, with Garrett Cleavinger.

Flashing late-inning reliever pitches in Single-A and Advanced-A ball in 2016 Cleavinger was beginning a rapid rise through the Orioles organization. Playing all of 2017 in Double-A Cleavinger’s ERA doubled and his strikeouts are projected to take a dip in an equal number of innings.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 31: Hyun Soo Kim /

Just 23-years-old and a third-round pick three years ago the Phillies hope they can mold Cleavinger into a lefty specialist for a future playoff run.

Perhaps the least interesting addition through the four deadline deals was the lone Major League player brought in, Hyun Soo Kim. In the final year of a two-year contract with Baltimore, the South Korean outfielder helped balance out the salary owed to Hellickson for the remainder of the season. Kim walked three times in his Phillies debut on Monday and could ultimately replace Daniel Nava as the fourth outfielder once a healthy Nava is inevitably moved in August.

If Kim shows something down the stretch as a bat off the bench the organization could theoretically offer him a short-term deal as a fourth outfielder and a veteran bat.

But most interesting is the international signing money, something several teams swapped during the deadline. More players are coming out of Latin America these days, and having the excess money designated for international free agents is next level thinking for the Phillies.


Losing out on a more lucrative Hellickson last year bumps Klentak’s grade down, but the international signing money keeps it afloat. Cleavinger is a lottery ticket Philadelphia hopes to cash down the road, and Kim may win a ballgame or two late in the season.

It’s a quiet trade many will likely forget but have big time impact depending on how the international money is used.