For the past month the Phillies have been holding an open audition in their bullpen, running one arm after the other from their Triple A Farm team, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The jobs are there for the taking, someone from the “Pig Pen” will step up and claim them. The Phillies bullpen, expected to be a strength this year, with Papelbon anchoring in the closer role, big money free agent Mike Adams signed to lock down the eighth inning, and sage veteran and World Series component Chad Durbin returning to the fold to join holdover lefthanded specialists Antonio Bastardo and Jeremy Horst, there were expected to be just a few spots for the young arms being groomed in the minor leagues.
Well,” the best laid plans…” as they say. Durbin was frankly awful, and has since been released. Horst wasn’t much better and is currently injured, Adams never really was effective and is likely gone for the year, and the original best minor league arm belonging to Phillipe Aumont was wild and ineffective. Since then, we’ve seen Aumont sent down, and Justin Defratus, B.J. Rosenberg, Jake Diekman, Joe Savery and in the most recent surprise, J.C Ramirez be given opportunities to varying degrees of effectiveness. Rosenberg was sent back, Savery has been up and down three times, and Aumont has returned (meaning two of the three players received from Seattle for Cliff Lee (Aumont and Ramirez) are currently in the big leagues). The arms are strong, there will be growing pains, and not all will succeed, but it will be fascinating which of these young players becomes the real “piggy” and keeps a spot in the big leagues all for himself.