Phillippe Aumont Rumors

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…


Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee Trade Finalized

3:27pm: Over at BlueJays.com, Blue Jays Alex Anthopoulos talked about the players the Jays received in the Halladay deal, as well as recent signing John Buck.  A few notes: Anthopoulos sees Wallace as a first baseman, and he has still has ongoing trade talks about other players.

1:48pm: The Mariners announced the trade in a press release, with GM Jack Zdruriencik congratulating the Phillies and Blue Jays on the way the deal was handled.  ESPN's Jayson Stark notes that the deal will be complete all-around once Bud Selig signs off on the $6MM going to the Phillies.  Elliott says an MRI on Wallace's shoulder cleared the Taylor part of the swap.

1:31pm: Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail heard that the report of a failed physical is a "totally false rumour."  ESPN's Shannon Drayer tweets that the deal is official and Lee is a Mariner.  MLB.com's Todd Zolecki agrees, saying a Halladay press conference is set for 4pm CST.

12:38pm: Davidi passes along an AP report that has Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. saying he's hopeful the trade can be completed today but talks may go into Thursday.  Larry Stone of the Seattle Times doesn't expect the deal to unravel, and is hearing it's not a Mariners prospect who failed a physical.

11:47am: The three/four-way trade involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee is not yet official; here's our post yesterday for a refresher.  The latest bit of news kicking off today's post: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun tweets that he heard someone involved in the trade flunked their physical (one of the minor leaguers).  Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press says Phillippe Aumont passed.  There appears to be six other prospects involved in the deal, if you include the Michael TaylorBrett Wallace component.  Drabek had Tommy John surgery in July of '07, while Aumont had elbow issues toward the end of the '08 season.

A recap of the expected deal:

  • The Phillies get Roy Halladay, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Juan Ramirez, and $6MM.  The Phillies will give Halladay a three-year extension plus vesting options.
  • The Mariners get Cliff Lee.
  • The Blue Jays get Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis d'Arnaud.
  • The A's get Michael Taylor.

The Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee Blockbuster

8:28pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report (scroll down to 7:50pm) that Billy Beane and the A's first became interested in Taylor last summer when the Phillies tried to acquire Matt Holliday.

6:39pm: Jayson Stark reports on the historic maginitude of this deal as this will be the closest two Cy Young winners have ever come to being traded for each other.

6:35pm: It appears as though one of the last hurdles has been overcome as Todd Zolecki reports that Halladay has passed his physical.

2:54pm: Olney says the option vests if Halladay is close to as durable as he's been for the last two years. Halladay's made 65 starts and thrown 485 innings the last two years; he's as durable as they come.

2:43pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown hears that the Halladay extension runs through 2013 at $20MM per season. A vesting option for another $20MM could prolong the pact by another year. The deal is now pending physicals.

11:56am: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies have agreed to an extension with Halladay.

10:00am: Rosenthal hears there's a chance for a fourth year. It's still under discussion, but it could be guaranteed and it could be a vesting option.

9:42am: A source tells Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the deal is "very unlikely" to be completed today. We could see resolution tomorrow.

9:36am: The Phillies are still working out extension details with Halladay, according to Heyman. The teams may not complete the deal until tomorrow.

9:02am: Halladay will agree to a three-year extension worth $60MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. The deal will include two vesting options, so it could keep Halladay in Philly through 2015.

(more…)


Blockbuster Trade Reactions

One of the biggest trades in recent memory is nearing completion. Here are some reactions to the Roy HalladayCliff Lee-prospects swap from around the game.

  • ESPN.com's Keith Law expects Brett Wallace- the player the Jays will obtain for Taylor – to end up at first base. Law likes the prospects Seattle gave up, but doesn't love them. Given that Seattle has other prospects, he says "making a legitimate run at a division title is a pretty good reason to empty out your farm."
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Phillies couldn't afford to have Halladay and Lee in the same rotation because it would have cost too much in terms of money and prospects.
  • Scott Lauber of the News Journal says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has staked his legacy on Halladay.
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan says two teams have reason to celebrate this deal: the Jays and the Mariners. The Phillies, on the other hand, are "not demonstrably better" than before. 
  • One veteran talent evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the only clear winner is Seattle. Olney hears from some Yankees people who believe the Jays got less than what they were demanding from Brian Cashman & Co.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Yankees were willing to offer Jesus Montero in a package for Halladay, but not Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.
  • Rob Neyer of ESPN.com agrees with Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner: the deal is a "heist" for the Mariners. Cameron likes the deal so much he tells Mariners fans to "dance in the streets."
  • Over at FanGraphs, Cameron says all three franchises had understandable motivations for making the trade. Still, he wonders if Philly could have obtained more for Lee.
  • Marc Hulet of FanGraphs wonders why the Phils didn't wait and deal Lee for more.
  • Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star says the Jays "should be embarrassed" by the return they got for Halladay.
  • One member of the Phillies organization tells MLB.com's Noah Coslov that he doesn't understand the trade because Michael Taylor is MLB ready now.
  • Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says it was never realistic to expect Halladay and Cliff Lee to pitch in the same rotation.