RHP Phillippe Aumont pitching this past Sunday in Lehigh Valley. (Photo by John Russo)
PHILADELPHIA — Almost three years ago, Cliff Lee was traded to Seattle for a package of prospects.
The move replenished the farm system after the Phillies dealt some of their top prospects to Toronto to acquire Roy Halladay.
Three players were acquired for Lee: pitchers Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez as well as outfielder Tyson Gillies. Aumont will be the first to finally wear a Phillies jersey.
Ramirez is also with Triple-A, posting a 3-1 record with 4.73 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. Gillies is in Double-A Reading and is currently suspended for yelling at a bus driver.
The move will come almost forced, with Jeremy Horst, the player whose spot was vacated, taking time off on paternity leave, as well as Aumont’s turn coming next after a dozen failed bullpen experiments this season.
Aumont will get the call over Joe Savery and Jake Diekman, who have struggled in their times with the Phillies. Aumont, who has been less than impressive this season with Lehigh Valley, will also get thrown into a Major League bullpen that ranks near the bottom of the Majors.
In 44 1/3 innings with the IronPigs, Aumont has a 3-1 record and 4.26 ERA with 59 strikeouts. Those numbers aren’t too bad, but it’s the walks and location issues Aumont has had all year that’s alarming.
Aumont’s is averaging 6.9 walks per nine innings, which is third worst in entire Phillies minor-league system for pitchers with at least 20 innings.
On Sunday, Aumont struggled against the Toledo MudHens, allowing four runs on three hits and a walk in only 2/3 of the 9th inning. Lehigh Valley trailed only 5-4 at the time but Aumont’s implosion set Lehigh Valley up for a 9-4 loss, erasing hopes at a comeback.
There is some inconsistency mixed in Aumont’s credentials that include a fastball in the mid-90’s.
Leading into that poor outing, Aumont allowed only two earned runs combined in the previous nine outings he pitched.
On a larger scale, in April, Aumont had a 6.48 ERA, a rough start that really made people question Aumont’s value in the Lee deal. But Aumont bounced back, posting a 2.45 ERA in May, a 3.97 in June and a 2.38 in July.
It’s also an outing like the one on Sunday which reflects much of the Phillies season this year. With the Phillies facing one of the best offenses in baseball for three more games, the possible time Aumont will have in the bullpen, it won’t be set in stone whether or not Aumont will make a Major League debut.
If Aumont doesn’t get to pitch, he will almost certainly get his shot next month when rosters expand to 40 players and the IronPigs season has ended.