Just weeks ago, all seemed well for the Philadelphia Phillies heading into the 2023 season, but that does not seem to be the case entering the final weekend of 2023 Grapefruit League action.
With injuries across almost every facet of the roster, there are plenty of decisions for manager Rob Thomson and the Phillies front office to make as they finalize the club's Opening Day roster for a matchup against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, March 30.
The reigning National League champions parted ways with some key players in recent seasons who would have been valuable for them to have now as depth options. Here are three such trades that will begin to hurt this season.
1. Phillies traded Matt Vierling and Nick Maton to the Detroit Tigers
Thursday's news that star first baseman Rhys Hoskins requires ACL surgery and will likely miss the entire 2023 season came at an inopportune time — less than a week for the Phillies front office to come up with short and long-term solutions to replace the veteran slugger.
We recently explored the top three options on how the Phillies can fill the first base void, but perhaps President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski would like a do-over as it relates to an early January trade he made with one of his former organizations — the Detroit Tigers.
One of the top moves the Phillies made this offseason was dealing outfielder Matt Vierling, infielder Nick Maton, and catcher Donny Sands to the American League Central club in exchange for left-handed reliever Gregory Soto and infielder Kody Clemens.
Now without Hoskins, the Phillies could have used the right-handed-hitting Vierling at first base opposite left-handed pitchers — platooning him with Darick Hall. Vierling fielded a combined 57 innings at first base for the Phillies between the 2021 and 2022 seasons and committed no errors spanning 48 chances. He also helped turn a combined six double plays.
The Phillies could have also gotten creative and explored using Maton at first base. Having become a fan favorite among players on the team and fans with his "Wolfie" nickname, Maton had some big moments across his 86 games with the Phillies in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In 34 games and 85 plate appearances for the eventual National League champions in 2022, Maton slugged five home runs and 17 RBI.