Tigers get 3 players from Phils for Soto, Clemens

Detroit Tigers
One of the Tigers’ top trade candidates in Gregory Soto is on the move in a five-player trade Detroit swung with Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

Tigers get: INF Nick Maton, OF Matt Vierling, C Donny Sands (Phillies’ No. 21 prospect)
Phillies get: LHP Gregory Soto, UTIL Kody Clemens

The Tigers are filling several of their needs with this trade, at least on paper.

Maton, 25, is a left-handed bat who can play all over the field, with experience at second, at shortstop and in the outfield. He posted a 138 OPS+ in 34 games (85 plate appearances) in 2022. Vierling is a right-handed outfield bat, profiling as a fourth outfielder. The 26-year-old had an 83 OPS+ across 117 games in ’22.

Both were young depth pieces that contributed to the Phillies’ postseason run, and both have upside that made them intriguing to president of baseball operations Scott Harris in his first offseason with Detroit. Time will tell if they can turn into productive players who can upgrade Detroit’s offense.

Sands is a catcher, a position the Tigers targeted this offseason as they try to build depth behind Eric Haase and Jake Rogers. Sands, who spent the entire season on the 40-man roster but only a brief stint in the Majors in September, is a bat-first catcher, posting an .841 OPS in Triple-A last season.

Soto was the Tigers’ closer and an All-Star last season, recording 30 saves and a 3.28 ERA across 60 1/3 innings. Armed with nasty stuff that is dominant when he is commanding the baseball, Soto is a hard-throwing lefty reliever who can strengthen the Phillies’ bullpen as a late-inning reliever. He also isn’t slated for free agency until after the 2025 season, which put a high price tag on him in the trade market.

Clemens, 26, is a utility player who spent most of his playing time at second base in 2022. He hit .145 with five homers in 117 MLB at-bats last season.

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