On Dec. 16, 2009, the Philadelphia Phillies traded Cliff Lee to the Mariners in exchange for three prospects headlined by Phillippe Aumont, a lumbering righty who was ranked 93rd on Baseball America’s Top 100.
The deal was surprising at the time, but a year later, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. looked like a genius when Lee re-signed with Philadelphia as a free agent. Amaro not only obtained the No. 3 prospect in the Mariners farm system, but he also retained the player the Mariners acquired in the deal.
Aumont, however, has failed to live up to expectations in his MLB career. Almost immediately after being acquired, his control issues began to show. At Double A Reading, he was beaning batters unintentionally and firing off wild pitches, causing the team to ultimately move him to the bullpen.
His lack of command would set the tone for his career. In 2013, he walked 51 batters between the majors and Triple A and struck out just 61 batters. The following year, he appeared in five games for the Phillies and posted an ERA of 19.06.
Despite his control issues, the team decided to return him to a starting role. In Triple A, he showed signs of potential. Opponents batted just .222 against him and he had an ERA of 2.35, but the walks were still an issue.
With the Phillies needing a spot start for the injured Cole Hamels, Aumont was called up to pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals, who have the best record in baseball, and the team almost instantly regretted that decision.
The Cardinals needed just six batters to crack the code on Aumont, who seemed to open every at bat with an elevated two-seam fastball. To make matters worse, his control looked even worse than advertised. His pitches were so far out of the strike zones at times that Little Leaguers wouldn’t even swing. In the end, he allowed six runs, a pair of home runs walked seven and struck out only two in four innings.
Even when Aumont looked like he was regaining his confidence back, he found a way to ruin it. In the second inning, after allowing a two-run homer to Yadier Molina, Aumont seemed to regain his composure, striking out Randal Grichuk and forcing Jon Jay to ground out. Then, he allowed a hit to opposing pitcher Tyler Lyons and Kolten Wong followed by clubbing his eighth home run of the season. Aumont would walk a pair of batters before finally retiring Mark Reynolds.
The seven walks issues by Aumont were the most by a Phillies starter since Paul Abbott walked nine in 2004, Abbott’s final MLB game.
Aumont is now 26, the point of most MLB players career where they are at their prime. There is not much more that Aumont can learn that hasn’t already been taught to him since being drafted in 2007. Simply put, he doesn’t have what it takes to be a MLB pitcher. Given how terrible he looked on the mound, he has no trade value either. At this point, the Phillies should designate him for assignment and free up the roster spot for someone younger who has a higher ceiling.
The Phillies have provided Aumont with more than enough opportunities to succeed, it is time to chalk this up as a loss.