Early Returns on Lee Trade Not Good
Roy Oswalt has pitched so well for the Phillies that I haven’t heard anybody complain about the Cliff Lee trade lately.
But there was some interesting news yesterday regarding the Lee trade. Right-hander J.C. Ramirez, one of three players the Phillies received from Seattle for Lee, had surgery on his right hip last week. He is expected to be ready by Spring Training, but it capped a bad first year for the three prospects.
The Phillies demoted right-hander Phillippe Aumont, 21, from Double-A Reading (1-6, 7.43 ERA in 11 starts) to Single-A Clearwater (2-5, 4.48 ERA in 16 appearances). Outfielder Tyson Gillies, 21, missed most of the season with Reading (.238, two homers, six RBIs in 26 games) because of a hamstring injury, but that was the least of his problems. Pinellas County Sheriff’s officers arrested him last month for cocaine possession, which is a felony. He pleaded not guilty.
Ramirez, 22, had the best year of the three. He went 4-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 11 starts in Clearwater, and 3-4 with a 5.45 ERA in 13 starts in Reading.
“They’re all still 21 years old,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We’ve got a long way to go on them. We still view them as strong prospects for us. We’ll see how they develop.”
The Phillies converted Aumont from a reliever to a starter and changed his mechanics in Spring Training, which they attributed to his struggles. They are not sure if his future is in the rotation or the bullpen, although he remains a starter for now. They have said the same about Ramirez.
“The guys are still very young and it takes a lot of time for guys to develop sometimes,” Amaro said.
Of course, Gillies has drawn the most scrutiny after his arrest.
Amaro said Gillies is allowed to play for the Phillies while his legal issues are unresolved. He also said Gillies enjoys a clean slate once his issues are resolved and is unlikely to receive any punitive action.
“I still believe in him as a quality prospect,” he said.
But what about his character?
“As far as that stuff is concerned, other than what he’s been accused of, we don’t have any reason to (question) his character,” Amaro said. “He’s been a good kid. He’s a quality kid. Whether he has an issue or a problem, that’ll be up to the legal system. Any issues or personal matters that he has to deal with, if there is a problem, I’ll tell him to take care of it.”
Gillies remains in Clearwater rehabbing his injured hamstring. Because of the injury, he basically lost an entire year of development.
“It hurts,” Amaro said. “We would like the guy on the field. It’s kind of an incomplete grade for the guy. He’s got a lot of ability. We like him.”
But so far the early returns on the Lee trade are not good.