Phillippe Aumont Rumors

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/24/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Cubs have optioned lefty Clayton Richard, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com tweets. It appears that the previously reported DFA only removed him from the 25-man roster, to permit the club to seek optional assignment waivers. Richard could have declined the assignment himself, but apparently chose not to.
  • The Blue Jays have released infielder Ramon Santiago, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. Santiago, 35, slashed just .202/.283/.218 in his 139 plate appearances this year at Triple-A Buffalo. He has seen big league action in 13 straight seasons, but now seems likely to see that streak come to an end.
  • Toronto has also added righty Phillippe Aumont, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets. The former Phillies hurler has never gained traction at the big league level, and hit the open market after declining an outright assignment. He did post a 2.35 ERA over 65 innings at the Triple-A level this year, his best showing in some time.
  • Lefty Ryan Buchter has agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old was released by the Dodgers recently after exercising his opt-out. Buchter threw 32 2/3 innings of 1.65 ERA ball at Triple-A, with 10.7 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9.

Phillippe Aumont Declines Outright, Elects Free Agency

Righty Phillippe Aumont has declined the Phillies‘ outright assignment and instead elected free agency, Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Twitter. Aumont was designated for assignment over the weekend.

Aumont had previously been outrighted, meaning that he had the option to hit the market this time around. The 26-year-old righty had never managed to show sustained results as a big league reliever, struggling in particular to limit free passes. Aumont lost his 40-man spot early last year, but remained in the organization after clearing waivers.

He was doing a nice job of preventing runs at Triple-A this season after moving back to a starting role, posting a 2.35 ERA in 65 innings despite continued control problems. Philadelphia brought Aumont up for a big league start to bolster its threadbare rotation, but the results weren’t pretty. He walked seven batters in just four frames and served up two home run balls en route to allowing six earned.

With Aumont formally leaving the Philly organization, we can officially close the books on the 2009 deal that sent Cliff Lee to the Mariners. The Phillies never received any significant contributions from the young players it acquired, though of course the club ultimately re-signed Lee not long after.


Phillies Designate Phillippe Aumont For Assignment

The Phillies have announced that they’ve designated righty Phillippe Aumont for assignment. The move clears space for the team to select the contract of righty Seth Rosin, who will presumably join their bullpen.

Aumont was the 11th overall pick in the 2007 draft and was a top prospect in the Mariners organization before heading to the Phillies in Seattle’s 2009 trade for Cliff Lee. He never had great control, however, and problems with walks have continued to plague him since the deal. He pitched 65 innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, with a 2.35 ERA and 8.0 K/9 but with 5.7 BB/9. His issues with walks have been even worse in the big leagues — he’s allowed 7.0 BB/9 in parts of four seasons, including seven walks in four innings this year. He’s still just 26, and he’s tall (at 6-foot-7) and a hard thrower, so he’ll likely continue to receive chances somewhere, either in the big leagues or the minors.



NL East Notes: Strasburg, Soriano, Hamels, Aumont

Over at Fangraphs, Jeff Sullivan takes a look at the cause of Stephen Strasburg‘s uncharacteristically slow start for the Nationals. As he explains, batters have teed off on Strasburg when he is working out of the stretch. It is impossible to pin down the exact issues, of course, but Sullivan explains that — as pitching coach Steve McCatty believes — lingering side-effects of an offseason ankle injury may still be impacting Strasburg’s mechanics. Obviously, Strasburg is in no danger or need of being replaced in D.C., and he remains an over-scrutinized pitcher. But both player and club obviously have some work to do to get him back on track.

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • The Marlins pulled out of their pursuit of free agent reliever Rafael Soriano because of their assessment of his likely impact more than the money involved, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports (Twitter link). Of course, it is nearly impossible to separate talent assessment and cost entirely. After all, Miami presumably wouldn’t hesitate to add Soriano on a league-minimum contract. But the Marlins could well have determined, whether based on scouting him last year or learning more about his current status, that Soriano did not warrant any kind of significant outlay.
  • Phillies ace Cole Hamels has turned things around after a slow start, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. The southpaw has allowed just 2.72 earned runs per nine over his last five starts, Zolecki notes, and turned in a nice, nine-strikeout outing last night. All said, Hamels’ trade value remains as robust as ever as the summer draws near.
  • After failing to stick as a big league reliever, Phillies righty Phillippe Aumont is impressing as a starter at Triple-A, Zolecki reports. The only remaining piece of the Cliff Lee trade, the 26-year-old had seemed destined to be a disappointment but is showing some life in the upper minors with a 1.36 ERA over 33 innings (7.6 K/9 vs. 3.5 BB/9). “Phillippe told me he’s extremely happy to be back in the rotation,” Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan tells Zolecki. “He looks like it. There’s a tempo to what he’s doing. He used to take forever between pitches. He’s crisp. He has some big misses, but he gets right back in the zone. Seven strong innings today, really. He had an above-average, maybe well above-average fastball. Above-average breaking ball. Two Major League pitches.”

Phillies Outright Phillippe Aumont, Miguel Gonzalez

The Phillies have outrighted out-of-options righty Phillippe Aumont, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets. Philadelphia also announced that righty Miguel Gonzalez has been outrighted off of the 40-man.

Aumont is, of course, the last remaining piece of the 2009 Cliff Lee trade left in Philadelphia. His exposure to waivers obviously indicates that the club was prepared to lose him, and the fact that he went unclaimed reveals that the rest of the league has little interest in devoting a 40-man spot at this point. Certainly, the same holds for Gonzalez, who has disappointed thus far in Philly.

The pair of righties entered camp with plenty to prove but apparently failed to do so. Aumont, 26, limited the free passes in game action this spring while generating plenty of whiffs, but seemingly gave up a lot of hard contact, including three home runs in 8 2/3 innings. Gonzalez, 28, also could not keep opposing batters off of his pitches. Though he struck out seven and walked only one in 14 1/3 innings, Gonzalez was touched for 25 hits and five long balls in that stretch.


Phillies Notes: Rollins, Herrera, Oliver, Aumont

Former Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins viewed the Dodgers as his number one choice for a new club, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. But if a deal hadn’t been reached, Rollins would have considered a trade to the division rival Mets. Rollins said, “I considered the Mets to be No. 2. They have some arms over there.” Rollins clarified that he’s unsure if he would have ultimately accepted a trade to New York. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York tweets that the Mets inquired about Rollins in November but were told he would not accept a trade.

  • The Phillies are working quickly to evaluate Rule 5 picks Odubel Herrera and Andy Oliver, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes. Herrera will start in the outfield and Oliver will pitch an inning of relief as the Phillies take on the University of Tampa in an exhibition Sunday. Neither Herrera, who posted good on-base percentages in the Rangers system, nor Oliver, a hard-throwing but wild lefty from the Pirates organization, expected to wind up with the Phillies. “This is a good opportunity for me,” says Oliver. “I feel like I’m in a better place than where I came from.”
  • In addition to Oliver, Phillippe Aumont and non-roster invitee Jeanmar Gomez could make the opening day bullpen due to transactional reasons, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. The Phillies acquired Aumont in 2009 as part of the haul from the Mariners for Cliff Lee. He’s the lone remaining asset from that trade and is out of options. If he does not make the club, he’ll be subject to waivers. Gomez, 27, would have to earn a spot on the 40-man roster, but the club isn’t in a position to pass on viable major league pitchers. He has a 3.28 ERA in 78 appearances over the last two seasons, although his peripherals suggest we should expect something closer to a 4.00 ERA.

Phillies Notes: Aumont, Franco, Kendrick, Bernadina

Here are some items from the City of Brotherly Love…

  • Right-hander Phillippe Aumont wasn't included in the first round of September callups and "faces an uncertain future" with the Phillies, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Aumont has posted a 3.97 ERA over 34 innings with the Phils over the last two seasons, racking up strikeouts (33) but also walking 22 batters.  Aumont has issued 36 walks over 34 2/3 IP at Triple-A this season.  The Mariners took Aumont with the 11th overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft and was dealt to the Phillies as part of the Cliff Lee trade in December 2009.  Aumont was ranked as a top-100 prospect by Baseball America every year from 2008-10.
  • Also from Gelb, the Phillies didn't call up top prospect Maikel Franco because the team wants to look at Cody Asche at third base this month.  GM Ruben Amaro did say that a Franco promotion was at least "discussed internally" among team officials.
  • Kyle Kendrick will probably end up with roughly a $7.5MM salary for 2014 following his final offseason of arbitration eligibility, projects David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.  That's a reasonable price for a pitcher of Kendrick's caliber, Murphy feels, given how some other pitchers earning similar money in 2013 have been disappointments.  It hasn't been a great year for the right-hander (4.51 ERA, 5,2 K/9, 2.36 K/BB), though he's on pace to throw a new career high in innings and his advanced metrics (3.93 FIP, 4.16 xFIP, 4.39 SIERA) indicate that Kendrick has been a bit unlucky.  His 49% ground ball rate also makes him a valuable asset pitching at Citizens Bank Park.
  • Roger Bernadina went 1-for-3 for the Phillies in today's 3-2 win over the Nationals, the first time Bernadina had faced his former team since being released two weeks ago.  Before the game, Bernadina told reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Ladson) that he "was a little bit shocked" at his release but enjoyed his time in Washington and now enjoys being a Phillie.

Amaro: Manuel To Return In 2013

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that Charlie Manuel will return as the team’s manager in 2013. Manuel will remain in place next year and the sides will re-evaluate following the ’13 season. Amaro said he’s pleased with Manuel’s performance but acknowledged that the two disagree at times, as most GMs and managers do.

Here are some more highlights from Amaro’s Q&A with Salisbury:

  • Amaro said Ryne Sandberg has been great as the organization’s Triple-A manager. The GM declined to call Sandberg the successor to Manuel, but said he’s worthy of consideration for MLB managerial jobs. Amaro added that he is hopeful Sandberg gets the chance to manage in the Major Leagues and said he would like to keep him in the organization.
  • Chase Utley is an option at third base for the 2013 Phillies, Amaro said. The decision depends on Utley’s comfort level at the position. If the Phillies look outside of the organization for third base help they could seek a left-handed hitter to platoon with Kevin Frandsen.
  • The Phillies aren’t impressed by the free agent options at the hot corner. “There are no third basemen out there,” Amaro said. “Very, very few. The options are very, very small. It’s no secret that that’s one of the things we were looking for at the deadline and the availability of third basemen was basically zero. And the ones that were available, the prices on them were enormous.”
  • The Phillies may find their setup relievers from within the organization, Amaro said. Pitchers such as Antonio Bastardo, Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus and Josh Lindblom are options. However, the Phillies were disappointed with Bastardo’s performance this year and he’s an unknown going forward.

Quick Hits: Royals, Astros, Lee, Reyes, Young, Prior

Real live baseball was played in Florida and Arizona today, even though it was nothing more than a handful of exhibition games. That's better than nothing in my book. Here's some links for Saturday…


Odds & Ends: Crawford, Alvarez, Mauer, Aumont

Some links for your Friday…