February 6, 2023

Report: Phillies close to acquiring Gregory Soto

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JULY 07: Gregory Soto #65 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after striking out Eli White #41 of the Texas Rangers for the final out in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Rangers 5-3 at Globe Life Field on July 07, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies are not done just yet.

They are close to acquiring two-time All-Star reliever Gregory Soto from the Detroit Tigers, per multiple reports.

Jim Salisbury was the first to report that the Phillies were “working on a trade” for Soto.

Then Jon Morosi of MLB.com added that outfielder Matt Vierling, infielder/outfielder Nick Maton, and catcher Donny Sands would head to Detroit in exchange for Soto and infielder Kody Clemens, who is the son of Roger Clemens.

The deal is still pending physicals.

Soto, 27, has been an All-Star for the past two seasons. However, he owns a 3.34 ERA and 3.88 FIP over that time to his name, so he has not been consistently dominant. Still, the strong lefty averaged a fastball at 98.8 mph in 2022, his sinker sat at 98.4 mph, the changeup at 91.6 mph, and his slider at 89.4 mph. 

Soto has some qualities comparable to Jose Alvarado was when the Phillies acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2021 season. Soto has excellent stuff, and if he learns how to command it better, he could be one of the game’s best relievers, as Alvarado was in the second half of the 2022 season.

The Phillies’ bullpen is now extremely deep. Soto joins Matt Strahm and Craig Kimbrel as 2023 off-season bullpen additions. The big pieces of this bullpen now consist of Seranonthy Dominguez, Alvarado, Kimbrel, and Soto. That is terrifying.

Losing Vierling and Maton stings. It thins out the Phillies’ bench and essentially ends “The Daycare”. However, they were not going to get a whole lot of playing time. Vierling was going to play is either to fill in the outfield as a defensive replacement or go in and replace Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, or Brandon Marsh if one is out or injured. The Phillies now do need a backup outfielder to replace Vierling. Conversely, Maton probably would barely play as Trea Turner, Bryson Stott, and Edmundo Sosa fill up the middle-infield. And Donny Sands is a Triple-A catcher.

So now the bench is presumably Garret Stubbs, Sosa, Dalton Guthrie, and an outfield bat who needs to be signed. And there is still room in the 40-man roster.

So when you really look deep, this was a steal and yet another fantastic acquisition by the Phillies and Dombrowski.

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