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The Verdict Is In: The Phillies Won Their 2023 Trade with the Tigers

With over a year of sample size, it is now safe to say that the Philadelphia Phillies won a Jan. 7, 2023 trade with the Detroit Tigers. In this deal, the Phillies traded for Gregory Soto and Kody Clemens. The Tigers acquired Matt Vierling, Nick Maton, and Donny Sands. The Phillies needed to improve the bullpen at the time. So, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski made a deal with his former team to acquire Soto. This type of five-player trade where it is a two to three split seems rare. This is especially the case when no large contracts are involved. Furthermore, all five players in the trade had already played at least two games in the major leagues.

Of the three players the Tigers acquired, Vierling is the only one still on the team. He has a .261/.286/.410 line with three home runs and 16 RBI in 42 games this season. Maton is currently playing for the Triple-A Norfolk in the Baltimore Orioles organization. In 93 games for the Tigers last season, Maton had a .173/.288/.305 line along with eight home runs and 32 RBI. Meanwhile, Sands plays for Triple-A Sacramento within the San Francisco Giants organization. Notably, he did not play in the major leagues for the Tigers at all. At this point, the Phillies have clearly won the 2023 trade with the Tigers.

The Phillies Won Their 2023 Trade with the Tigers

Gregory Soto

Since joining the Phillies, Soto has been one of the team’s better relief pitchers. In 87 appearances for the Phillies, Soto has a 4-5 record with a 4.54 ERA as well as a 1.278 WHIP and 80 strikeouts. He also has a 3.50 FIP and an 89 ERA+ during his tenure, along with five saves. While those numbers may not seem great on the surface it is worth noting that Soto has had a scoreless outing in 67 of those 87 appearances for the Phillies. Soto also has better H/9, HR/9, BB/9, and K/9 rates with the Phillies than he did in 186 appearances for the Tigers. It is worth noting Soto made seven starts with the Tigers.

So far this season in 18 games, Soto has a 1-1 record with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.857 WHIP with 15 strikeouts. He also has a 71 ERA+ and a 3.14 FIP this season. Soto’s walk and strikeout rates are a mixed bag, as he has a 5.8 BB9 and a 9.6 K9 rate, and opposing hitters have a .309 average against him. However, he has converted both of his save opportunities this season. The 2023 season saw Soto have a 3-4 record with a 4.62 ERA and a 1.144 WHIP with 65 strikeouts in 69 games. He also had a 94 ERA+ and a 3.59 FIP, in addition to a career-best 3.3 BB9 rate last season. Soto recorded three saves in six attempts last season.

Kody Clemens

In recent games, Clemens has stepped up while Trea Turner is out with an injury. In 11 games this season, Clemens has a .321/.345/.821 line with three home runs and 10 RBI. One of those home runs came on Saturday against the Washington Nationals with the Phillies down to their last out. Clemens’s home run tied the game and resulted in a 48.9% increase in the Phillies’ win probability. The Phillies would go on to win the game in extra innings. Clemens had another clutch hit against the Nationals on Sunday. His two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning led to a 24.5% increase in the Phillies win probability.

There is certainly a case to be made for Clemens to remain with the Phillies even when Turner returns. However, their current roster situation makes that unlikely. Cristian Pache is out of options and would have to be designated for assignment. Meanwhile, the Phillies are not going to move on from Whit Merrifield this quickly after signing him during this past offseason. This sets the stage for Clemens to be optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley once Turner returns from the injured list. While Clemens has performed well in his major league stints this year, there likely will not be room for him to stay on the 26-man roster when Turner comes back.


Photo Credit: © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


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