Tigers agree to trade Gregory Soto, Clemens to Phillies for three players

Detroit – President Scott Harris told anyone who would listen that he would not be risk averse. He wasn’t going to be afraid to take calculated risks.

And sure enough, in his first major trade with the Tigers, he traded lefty closer and two-time All-Star Gregory Soto and second-year utility man Kody Clemens to the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies for three young, unestablished players with high upside. .

“I think this trade is a variant of one of those calculated risks I’ve talked about,” Harris said after finalizing the deal Saturday, “You’re never entirely confident that young players are going to hit in the big leagues. But you are a little more confident when you see flashes of their performances in the big leagues already.

“It makes you feel better when you are getting players who have already done it at a high level. It increases your confidence that they will be able to help us in 2023 and beyond.”

The Tigers got back three players entering their age-26 season, two of whom played supporting roles in the Phillies’ pennant race and playoff run last season.

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Matt Vierling warms up during batting practice before Game 3 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, Oct.  21, 2022, in Philadelphia.

▶Matt Vierling, an extremely athletic, right-handed hitting outfielder played in 117 games in his rookie season last year (.246 average, six homers 32 RBIs) and was on the Phillies postseason roster, seeing action in 12 games.

Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Maton watches his single off his brother, Houston Astros relief pitcher Phil Maton, as catcher Christian Vazquez watches during the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Oct.  5, 2022, in Houston.

▶Nick Maton, a left-handed hitter can play anywhere on the diamond except catcher. He was on the Phillies World Series roster after slashing .250/.341/.514 with an .855 OPS in 34 games last season.

Philadelphia Phillies' Donny Sands reacts after being called out on strikes during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco, Friday, Sept.  2, 2022.

▶Donny Sands, a right-handed hitting catcher, was the No. 19-rated prospect in the Phillies system. He slashed .308/.413/.423 in Triple-A last season before making his big-league debut late in the season.

Harris went into the offseason looking for a left-handed hitting corner infielder and right-handed hitting corner outfielder and certainly Maton and Vierling check those boxes. But Harris didn’t want to limit them to those roles.

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