For anybody who has given up on the Orioles being able to get anywhere positive this season, the most discouraging thing there is to read is the idea that they might actually buy someone at the trade deadline in a futile hope of staying in contention with a fatally flawed team.
If you are one such person, you might want to avert your eyes. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are "active" in the pursuit for Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson .
UPDATE: The trade is happening, according to FanRag's Jon Heyman. It's not yet known what the Orioles are giving up in order to acquire Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies.
FURTHER UPDATE: The player the Orioles are sending back to the Phillies is Double-A reliever Garrett Cleavinger. If you've heard of Cleavinger, pat yourself on the back. If you haven't, he was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He was good at Delmarva last year, but wasn't good at Frederick and is even worse at Bowie this year: a 6.28 ERA in 38.2 innings.
There is not a worse starting rotation in the American League than the Orioles. This has now been the case for an uncomfortably long amount of the 2017 season and it's a big reason why the Orioles find themselves sitting six games below .500 as the calendar is nearly turning into August.
Setting aside the current Orioles record, a big reason why the idea of acquiring Hellickson is unappealing has more to do with his season performance to date. Do you want to see the Orioles acquire a guy whose late July ERA in the NL East is 4.73? If you want to go by his FIP number, it's even worse: 5.50, largely because he is striking out batters at a career-low percentage.
The Orioles rotation has been so bad that you can plug in a guy with a 5 ERA and if he replaces the right guy, that would be an improvement of a sort. With Ubaldo Jimenez sitting on an ERA that rounds up to 7 and Chris Tillman having one that rounds up to 8, one thing you can say is that there is room for improvement.
However, the Orioles rotation is also so bad that acquiring just one guy isn't going to make a dang bit of difference, especially if it's such an underwhelming one. The idea of the Orioles giving up any prospect at all, even a marginal one, is not appealing.
Neither is the Orioles paying any portion of the remainder of the $17.2 million salary due to Hellickson this season. If the money is sitting there, they could just set it aside to spend on next year's team, which will almost certainly need one or more free agent starting pitchers added to the ranks.
Hellickson had been scheduled to start a game on Friday night for the Phillies. He was scratched due to a combination of trade discussions and apparently not wanting to take any chances on an injury with a wet field in Philadelphia.
He would certainly fit right in with an Orioles rotation that gives up runs like they're going out of style, in all kinds of ways. The former Rays pitcher is working with a career-low ground ball rate of 35.1%. The ball is sailing out when it's in the air. He's allowed 22 home runs in 112.1 innings, which is really an impressive dedication to giving up home runs.