Phillies acquire Gregory Soto, Roger Clemens’ son in swap with Tigers

Gregory Soto #65, formerly of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Gregory Soto #65, formerly of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Phillies bolster their bullpen even more by acquiring Gregory Soto.

With about 80 days until Opening Day, the Philadelphia Phillies continue to finetune their roster with the hopes to repeat as National League champions in the 2023 season.

The latest roster tweak occurred Saturday, with President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski reportedly completing a trade with his former organization, the Detroit Tigers.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Phillies have agreed to send infielder Nick Maton, outfielder Matt Vierling and minor-league catcher Donny Sands to the American League Central club in exchange for left-handed closer Gregory Soto and infielder Kody Clemens — the son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens. The trade is still pending physicals.

Soto, who will turn 28 next month, recorded 30 saves in 33 opportunities last season with the Tigers — striking out 60 batters in 60 1/3 innings. The two-time All-Star did, however, yield an alarming 34 walks while recording 11 losses across his 64 appearances.

Clemens, 26, played first, second and third base, and even left field last season as a rookie. He committed only one error across 289 1/3 combined innings and 134 chances. At the plate, he slashed .145/.197/.308 with four doubles, five home runs, and 17 RBI across 56 games and 127 plate appearances. The Tigers drafted the Texas native in the third round of the 2018 draft.

Soto joins an increasingly deep Phillies bullpen that includes Seranthony Domínguez, José Alvarado, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Strahm, Connor Brogdon, and Andrew Bellatti, among others. Clemens, meanwhile, joins a Phillies infield mix of Alec Bohm, Rhys Hoskins, Edmundo Sosa, Bryson Stott, and Trea Turner.

Maton and Vierling’s departures are notable losses, considering they contributed toward the Phillies’ magical 2022 postseason run. Maton hit .254 across 86 games in two seasons in red pinstripes — slugging nine doubles, two triples, seven home runs, and 31 RBI.

Last season, Vierling manned 434 2/3 valuable innings at center field — a position that was largely up in the air until Brandon Marsh was acquired at the trade deadline. Across 151 games in two seasons as a Phillie, Vierling hit .260 with 15 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, and 38 RBI.

One of Maton’s best moments with the club was being the only player to homer twice off of eventual National League Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara in the 2022 season. Perhaps Vierling’s top moment in a Phillies uniform was his go-ahead home run against Josh Hader in Milwaukee.

The Athletic’s Jayson Stark says that while the Phillies will miss Maton and Vierling, Dombrowski believes that depth is replaceable. Clemens appears to be the current replacement for Maton. Now, it will be interesting to see which outfielder the club will turn to as the replacement for Vierling.

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