Gregory Soto Trade: Phillies Acquire Outstanding Lefty Reliever from Tigers in 5-Player Swap

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Gregory Soto and Kody Clemens in Trade with Detroit Tigers

The Phillies have made another move to bolster their roster following their World Series defeat last year, acquiring left-handed reliever Gregory Soto and utilityman Kody Clemens in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. In exchange, the Tigers will receive utilityman Nick Maton, outfielder Matt Vierling, and catcher Donny Sands.

Soto Brings Experience and Left-Handed Relief to Phillies’ Bullpen

The move adds another quality southpaw to Philadelphia’s bullpen, joining lefty Matt Strahm and right-hander Craig Kimbrel. The acquisition of Gregory Soto, as well as the signings of Trea Turner and Taijuan Walker, show that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is looking to take the Phillies one step further in 2023.

Gregory Soto, who turns 28 in February, had a successful season with the Tigers in 2022, recording a 3.28 ERA over 60.1 innings and earning 30 saves. He struck out batters at a 22.8% rate and had a 12.9% walk rate. Despite a dip in his strikeout rate from 27.5% the previous year,Gregory Soto has found success as a reliever, with a 3.57 ERA over 181.1 relief innings, including being selected for the All-Star game in 2021 and 2022.

Trade Looks to Benefit Both Teams as They Address Specific Needs

The trade between the Phillies and Tigers was first discussed at the Winter Meetings a month ago, but no deal was reached. The talks were reopened on Thursday when Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris contacted Dombrowski to see if the Phillies were interested in revisiting the potential trade. Within 48 hours, a deal was struck.

Gregory Soto has been an American League All-Star in each of the past two seasons. His fastball, which averages 98.7 mph for left-handed pitchers, and his sinker, averaging 98.1 mph, are among the fastest in the league. Left-handed hitters have struggled against Gregory Soto, hitting just .225/.328/.277 against him, and he has given up just one home run to a left-handed hitter in his career. While he handled the closing duties for the Tigers, he may see fewer ninth-inning opportunities with the Phillies due to the strength of their bullpen.

Soto’s Pitch Repertoire and Potential to Reduce Walks Make Him a Valuable Addition to Phillies’ Roster

Gregory Soto’s pitch repertoire includes a triple-digit fastball, an 89 mph slider, and a very occasional changeup. His career walk rate of 13.1% has been the biggest issue for him, but even with that below-average rate, he has been a valuable relief arm. If he can reduce the number of free passes, he has the potential to become an elite late-inning pitcher.

Gregory Soto has three years of team control remaining and is arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. The Phillies will also receive utilityman Kody Clemens, the son of former MLB player Roger Clemens, in the trade. Clemens, 25, made his MLB debut with the Tigers in 2020 and played in 45 games in 2022, hitting .221/.269/.368 with four home runs.

Nick Maton, Matt Vierling, and Donny Sands Have Opportunity to Contribute to Tigers’ Rebuilding Efforts.

In exchange, the Tigers will receive utilityman Nick Maton, outfielder Matt Vierling, and catcher Donny Sands. Maton, 25, made his MLB debut in 2021 and played in 55 games for the Phillies in 2022, hitting .232/.291/.356 with four home runs. Vierling, 25, made his MLB debut in 2021 and played in 16 games for the Phillies in 2022, hitting .250/.250/.375 with one home run. Sands, 24, made his MLB debut in 2021 and played in 26 games for the Phillies in 2022, hitting .208/.267/.354 with two home runs.

Overall, the trade looks to be a win for the Phillies, as they acquire a proven left-handed reliever in Gregory Soto and a utility player in Clemens in exchange for three players who are still developing in their careers. The acquisition of Gregory Soto adds depth and experience to the Phillies’ bullpen, and his ability to handle left-handed batters could be especially valuable in close games.

Kody Clemens Brings Versatility and Offensive Potential to Phillies

Clemens brings versatility to the Phillies’ roster, as he can play multiple positions, and has the potential to contribute offensively.

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