In early January 2023, the Philadelphia Phillies traded Matt Vierling, Nick Maton, and Donny Sands to the Detroit Tigers as they bolstered their bullpen by adding Gregory Soto. Kody Clemens was also sent to Philadelphia in the deal. Both Vierling and Maton became popular in Philadelphia due to their roles with the 2022 National League championship Phillies team.
The trade was smart from the Phillies' perspective. On Monday, Maton was designated for assignment by Detroit to make room for LHP Kolten Ingram on the 40-man roster. The move shouldn't really come as a surprise. Over the course of 293 plate appearances in the major leagues last season as a Tiger, the former Phillie slashed just .173/.288/.305. He also struck out almost 25 percent of the time.
Unless Maton is claimed off waivers, he'll end up in the Tigers' minor league system. As a seventh-round pick of the Phillies in 2017, it's far from a sure thing that the Illinois native turns it around to get another crack at the big leagues. He's certainly not a bad depth option for some teams; he can play second and third base, which makes him somewhat versatile.
It's safe to say that the Phillies have officially "won" this trade. The upside of Soto and the fact that Vierling is the only remaining viable option the Tigers received in the trade makes that apparent. The Phillies left-handed pitcher has dominant stuff and will be a major factor in the club's bullpen this season.
If the 28-year-old Soto is going to make contributions this year, he'll have to hone his command and limit the big innings. Despite a 4.62 ERA, the former Tigers closer showed his stuff is solid. He posted a strikeout rate of 26 percent — the MLB average is 22.9 percent — and opposing batters hit just .210 against him.
While Phillies fans can wish for the best for Maton, they should be content with the return the trade has yielded.