When the Philadelphia Phillies chose to send right-handed reliever Michael Schwimer down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier today, it meant they want to see what newly called up Phillippe Aumont can do on a big league team.
Aumont was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade back in the offseason after 2009 when the Phillies shipped Lee to the Seattle Mariners. He was ranked in the top 100 prospects by Baseball America for three straight years, although he has since stalled. Aumont had a 4.26 ERA and awful 6.9 walk rate in Triple-A this season, but he strikes out a ton of hitters, and he throws in the upper nineties, which means he has a chance to make a big impact in the future.
The Phillies’ bullpen is wide open for 2013. Jose Contreras won’t be back after his two-year deal expires. Jonathan Papelbon is the only relief pitcher signed through next season, although players like Antonio Bastardo, Josh Lindblom, and Michael Stutes are under team control and will be back for quite some time before they hit free agency. But there’s a slew of other pitchers fighting for jobs – David Herndon, Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg, and Joe Savery – not to mention Aumont and Schwimer.
If Aumont gives a good showing, he could be expected to make a strong impact on the ’13 club. And even if he falters down the stretch, he will probably still get the chance to try out for the team in spring training, although doing well would go a long way for his confidence.