Another bullpen arm is traded as the Detroit Tigers trade Gregory Soto to the Phillies.

The Detroit Tigers drew again on a position of strength. On Saturday, the Tigers traded All-Star closer Gregory Soto and Kody Clemens to the Phillies for OF/INF Matt Vierling, INF/OF Nick Maton and catcher Donny Sands. Both Sands and Vierling bat right-handed, and Maton bats from the left-side. During the presser this afternoon with the media, Detroit Tigers President of Baseball Operations had this to say regarding the trading Soto.

“We felt like this deal was over the line for us. … We felt like, going into the winter, if we could get a deal that was over the line for us, we should be prepared to take it.”

Soto finishes his Tigers career with 204.2 innings pitched, 50 saves and 210 strikeouts with a FIP of 4.29

Harris on Vierling, who played in 117 games with the Phillies in 2022. 

“Matt Vierling is a tremendous athlete. He has a track record of controlling the strike zone. He can play everywhere on the diamond. And he has already performed at a high level in the big leagues. We also think he can bring some athleticism, versatility, and speed that can really enhance our overall offense unit in 2023. We also think the speed component may be of greater importance in the new rules, so it’s nice to add a little bit more speed to our offense.”

The speed shows in his Statcast data. He was ranked in the 97th percentile in sprint speed last season. Harris spoke highly about his adjustment of playing the infield during a pennant chase.

Detroit Tigers

Data courtesy of Baseball Savant

Harris on Maton:

“Nick Maton is another versatile position player who has a history of controlling the zone. He has already hit right-handed pitching in the big leagues. He has a track record of hitting right-hitting pitching throughout his professional career. And he feels comfortable on the grass and in the dirt. Both of these players do. Those types of players are hard to find, and we feel like “we’re adding two of them who have already performed in the big leagues.”

Maton has a brother, Phil, who is a pitcher for the Astros. One of things Harris mentioned was the swing changes Maton has made. During this reel, if you notice his feet setup and his hands, there is a difference from 2021 to 2022.

Harris on Sands:

Donny has been consistently been a strong defenseive catcher. We are confident in his ability to help our pitchers in the strike zone and we also saw some flashes of more juice in the bat in Triple-A this year. We feel like there’s a little bit more in there in the bat, but we’re confident in his abilities behind the dish. We’re looking forward to getting him and all these players with our new hitting group to work on helping them adjust to what pitchers are doing to them in the big leagues.”

Of the three, Sands has the least amount of major league experience, spending just three games with Philly last season. Sands hit .309/.413/.428 with an OPS of .841 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

What will the Detroit Tigers do for a closer?

Harris, when asked about a closer now that Soto is gone, he said they will evaluate the situation when they head to Lakeland and start making decisions from there. With Alex Lange, Jason Foley and newly added to the 40-man roster RHP Brendan White, the Tigers will have plenty of choices.

Detroit continues to address not only depth for the roster, but the profile that Harris wants from each player, which is the ability to command the strike zone.

Here’s the podcast from earlier today going over the trade.

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Photo Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: January 7th, 2023Categories: Detroit Tigers, MLB

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