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Tigers look north in signing reliever Aumont

Former first-round Draft pick pitched in Canada this past season
December 20, 2017

DETROIT -- The Tigers' search for undervalued pitching led them north of the border to independent ball. But in acquiring former Phillies reliever Phillippe Aumont, the Tigers hope to find the upside in the former first-round Draft pick.Aumont's indy team, the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League, announced the deal

DETROIT -- The Tigers' search for undervalued pitching led them north of the border to independent ball. But in acquiring former Phillies reliever Phillippe Aumont, the Tigers hope to find the upside in the former first-round Draft pick.
Aumont's indy team, the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League, announced the deal this week, since the club sold his contract to Detroit. The Tigers haven't officially confirmed the deal; they tend to announce Minor League signings in groups rather than individually.

Aumont was the 11th overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Mariners, 16 picks before the Tigers selected Rick Porcello. The 6-foot-7 right-hander cracked top 100 prospect lists in 2009 and 2010 as he climbed the Mariners then Phillies farm systems, having been dealt to Philly in the Cliff Lee trade after the 2009 season. But while he showed good strikeout rates and decent metrics in short stints out of the Phillies bullpen in 2012 and '13, he struggled with walks and found himself on a back-and-forth cycle between Philadelphia and Triple-A Lehigh Valley until he was outrighted twice in 2015.
Aumont pitched just 11 innings for Triple-A Charlotte in the White Sox system in 2016. He went to Ottawa this past season and posted a 5-8 record and 4.51 ERA in 17 starts. He allowed 128 hits over 115 2/3 innings, but struck out 103 batters.
Aumont turns 29 in January. While he could provide some competition in Spring Training for one of the many bullpen spots open, even if he doesn't break out, he gives Detroit some depth in case of injuries and inconsistencies.
Expect more deals like this as Spring Training draws closer and the Tigers look for more bounceback and breakout candidates in a pitching market that has proven pricey for them.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.