Philadelphia Phillies' Phillippe Aumont Can Win Final Bullpen Spot, Prove Cliff Lee Trade Wasn't Total Bust

By Marilee Gallagher
Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Unquestionably, Phillippe Aumont is the best and possibly only major league-ready prospect to come out of the Cliff Lee trade to the Seattle Mariners that the Philadelphia Phillies made in 2009.

When the Phillies first traded Lee, the response was not at all positive. He was coming off of a monster half season with the team and almost single-handedly won them their second consecutive World Series title.

Sure, GM Ruben Amaro did manage to pull the trigger and get Roy Halladay, but at the time, fans had no reason to believe that both Halladay and Lee couldn’t co-exist in the same Phillies rotation. Considering the end result, it turned out both were able to co-exist quite well.

Amaro claimed Lee needed to be traded for the Phillies to recoup some of the prospects the team lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the Halladay trade.

While the Phillies did get three, to put it nicely, ‘average’ prospects in return for Lee, they lost a handful of top guys including Kyle Drabek and Travis D’Arnaud. Prospect trading is not an exact science, but it was clear even then that the Phillies could have done better in return for the former Cy Young winner and ace of the staff in Lee.

But as it was, Philadelphia received three prospects: J.C. Ramirez, Tyson Gillies and of course, Aumont.

Gillies is a speedy outfielder who was said to have a very high ceiling and as the Phillies quickly learned, a bit of an attitude and tendency to get injured. Since playing his first minor league season as a member of the Phillies organization, Gillies has played in just 106 games, missing contests due to suspension, concussion, hamstring injury and arrest for cocaine possession that was later dropped.

Ramirez, who was on the major league roster, was designated for assignment when the Phillies signed Chad Durbin to a one-year deal. He has yet to appear at the big league level and has a very unimpressive K/9 and BB/9 in his seven-year minor league career.

Then there is Aumont, the guy who right now is considered the best of the worst. Unlike his fellow teammates, Aumont has actually grown with age and maturity and to his credit, is making himself quite an attractive option as a back-of-the-bullpen guy.

Aumont is a hard-throwing righty who strikes out over nine batters per nine innings pitched. His best tool has been his powerful arm and he is finally starting to develop better control, although it is still a work in progress. He has really improved his splitter and with the aid of Halladay, has learned how to be effective, using his 6-foot-7 frame to his advantage.

While Aumont is still a bit unpolished, he is ready to make the team and the only person standing in his way right now is fellow right-handed pitcher Mike Stutes, who has not had a great spring.

The weight now falls on the 24-year old Aumont’s shoulders, as Gillies and Ramirez are certainly nowhere near major league-ready. If he can make the roster, whether it be this year or next, maybe he can prove that the Lee trade wasn’t really so bad after all.

Follow Marilee on Twitter, @MGallagher17 and on Google+

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