Tigers ship ‘excited’ Michael Lorenzen to Phillies for prospect Hao-Yu Lee

Detroit News

Pittsburgh — Michael Lorenzen was on the field at PNC Park at around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon, going through his usual between-starts routine, including throwing off the bullpen mound.

“Just kind of in a holding pattern,” he said. “You just don’t know where you are going to go, what’s true and what’s not true.”

An hour later, he found out what was true. The Tigers traded Lorenzen to the Philadelphia Phillies for 20-year-old infield prospect Hao-Yu Lee.

“The Phillies are a good team, a really good team,” Lorenzen said. “I’ve played with quite a few of those guys when I was young and it’ll be fun to play with them again. But it’s exciting. Great atmosphere, great city — I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Lorenzen, who looked exhausted when he came out to address the media after the trade was made official, said he still has a lot to process.

“There’s just so much going on,” he said. “Talking to everyone, saying goodbye to everyone, I think my adrenaline has gone through the roof and I’m starting to crash. I think it will hit me more in the morning. I’m trying to take it all in and figure out all the logistics — the flight (to Miami where the Phillies are playing), my own family, when I’m pitching.

“There’s still so much going on, it’s hard to take it all in.”

The Phillies were among the teams who had scouts following the Tigers around for the last 10 days or so. They were also looking at several Tigers relievers, including Jason Foley. Reports out of Philadelphia indicated Lorenzen would initially plug into a six-man rotation.

“I feel like I’m throwing the best ball I’ve ever thrown,” he said. “And I feel like there’s still room to grow and I’m getting better. Hopefully I can go to Philly and apply that and they’ll get the benefit of that.”

Lorenzen, who is 31 and in just his second full season as a starting pitcher, gave credit to the Tigers’ pitching department for his breakout season.

“The staff here, they followed through on their promise to me,” he said. “They said, ‘You’re going to come here and we’re going to make you better.’ They did that. I told Scott (Harris, president) that and thanked him.”

Harris called Lorenzen’s short, productive tenure in Detroit a “big win for our staff and our whole organization.”

“I said this offseason, I wanted to rebrand the Tigers as a place where players know they can come and get better,” Harris said. “Our first test was Michael Lorenzen and he trusted us. He came from his home in California. He came to Detroit and he trusted that AJ (Hinch), our coaching staff and our entire front office staff was going to make him better.

“And sure enough, he came to Detroit, he found a home here, he got better, he made his first All-Star Game and now he’s going  to the Phillies and trying to win the World Series. He’s also helping us get better as an organization because he helped us to access a young position player prospect (Lee) who should be with us for a long time and has a chance to really help us at the big league level.

Lorenzen posted a 3.58 ERA and a 1.098 WHIP in 18 starts for the Tigers. The Tigers signed him for one year at $8.5 million, making him a prime trade chip.

“Michigan has been incredible, Detroit was incredible,” he said. “Me and my wife loved everything about it. We appreciate the fans and the city very much.”

As for the Tigers’ get-back, they got a young, right-handed, multi-positional infielder who fits the offensive identity they are trying to create — advanced bat-to-ball skills and plate discipline.

Lee, the No. 5-ranked prospect in the Phillies system (per MLB Pipeline), is in his third professional season, signed out of Taiwan in 2021. He was slashing .283/.372/.401 with a .773 OPS at High-A Jersey Shore. He has had 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts.

He struck out 56 times and walked 30 times in 297 plate appearances this season, despite being more than two years younger than the average hitting in South Atlantic League.

“Lee is a player that we’ve been after for a long time,” Harris said. “He’s going to go straight to West Michigan and he’s going to really help us. He’s going to be one of our top prospects. And having access to that level of talent is a big win for the organization.”

The Tigers also acquired a right-handed hitting moutfield prospect from the Dodgers, Eddys Leonard, for cash considerations. Leonard, 22, hit 11 home runs with 44 RBI at Double-A Tulsa. He’s played third, short and second as well as in the outfield.

He will join Triple-A Toledo.


Twitter: @cmccosky

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