The Phillies won’t pick up starter Cliff Lee‘s $27.5 million option for the 2016 season, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. They will instead pay him a $12.5 million buyout as the lefty will likely head into retirement.
Lee, 37, hasn’t started for the Phillies since July 31 last season. He was shut down with a left flexor pronator strain, but both he and the team believed he could rehab without surgery and return for spring training. Lee made only one spring training start before his elbow issue flared up again. The Phillies shut him down in mid-March, and an optimistic timetable had him potentially returning for a few starts at the end of this season, but that obviously isn’t happening.
Lee, over parts of four seasons with the Phillies after signing a five-year, $120 million contract, compiled a 2.89 ERA with a 1.085 WHIP and a 739/114 K/BB ratio over 747 2/3 innings.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco threw a bullpen session without issue on Saturday, so he’s expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start on Tuesday against the White Sox, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Carrasco went on the disabled list on August 25 (retroactive to the 22nd) with inflammation in his right shoulder. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 3.53 ERA with a 173/32 K/BB ratio in 158 innings this season, following up on a breakout in the latter half of last year.
Carrasco joined the Indians from the Phillies in the July 2009 trade involving Cliff Lee.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has been something of a lightning rod in recent years, getting most of the blame for the team’s fall from grace after the 2011 season. There were a number of poor decisions made under his leadership, including the Ryan Howard extension, the Cliff Lee trade to Seattle, separate trades to acquire Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence which depleted the minor league system, as well as some regrettable public comments with which he insulted Ryan Howard, showed he didn’t understand how OPS worked, and denigrated the value of walks.
The Phillies hit rock bottom earlier this year, when manager Ryne Sandberg quit suddenly due to an inability to effectively communicate with his players. Amaro named Pete Mackanin the interim manager, and the team has played much better and players have effusively praised Mackanin. Amaro also oversaw the overhauling of the Phillies’ minor league system, trading Jimmy Rollins during the off-season and executing trades of Jonathan Papelbon, Ben Revere, Cole Hamels, and Chase Utley. The Phillies now arguably have one of the five-best minor league systems in baseball.
And that may be reason enough for the Phillies to bring Amaro back for the 2016 season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Amaro’s contract expires after the season, but incoming team president Andy MacPhail — taking over for outgoing president Pat Gillick — may keep Amaro in the GM seat rather than find a new candidate from outside the organization.
Heyman does cite as potential external GM options J.J. Piccolo of the Royals, Matt Klentak of the Angels, and John Barr of the Giants.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays have signed pitcher Phillippe Aumont to a minor league contract. Aumont, from Quebec, recently helped Canada to a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Aumont was designated for assignment by the Phillies on June 20 and elected free agency a few days later. One of three players the Phillies received from the Mariners in the December 2009 Cliff Lee trade, the right-hander struggled with control and never reached expectations. Aumont has a career 6.80 ERA in 43 2/3 major league innings. The Phillies converted him to a starter this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and he had positive results in a small sample of 10 starts but he has never been able to overcome his control issues.
Phillippe Aumont was designated for assignment by the Phillies this afternoon, less than 24 hours after he walked seven batters in a loss to the Cardinals.
With Cole Hamels sidelined due to a minor right hamstring strain, Aumont was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make a spot start last night. It wasn’t pretty. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up six runs and 12 out of the 23 batters he faced reached base. He threw just 56 out of 104 pitches for strikes.
Aumont was acquired from the Mariners in December of 2009 as part of the Cliff Lee deal and some considered him a potential closer at the time, but he has walked 34 batters over 43 2/3 innings during various stints in the majors and has averaged 5.6 BB/9 in the minors.