The Philadelphia Phillies are nearing a trade to acquire left-handed reliever Gregory Soto from the Detroit Tigers as part of a five-player trade, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. If the deal is finalized, the Phillies would net Soto and infielder Kody Clemens in exchange for outfielder Matt Vierling, utility player Nick Maton, and catcher Donny Sands.
Soto, 28 years old next month, spent most of the last two seasons serving as Detroit’s closer. Overall, he amassed a 3.34 ERA (121 ERA+) and a 1.84 strikeout-to-walk ratio, with that figure weighed down by his wildness. Indeed, Soto’s walk rate during the 2021-22 seasons (13.7 percent) ranks as the second highest among the 22 pitchers with at least 30 saves in that span; only Aroldis Chapman, currently a free agent, walked a higher share of batters.
Nevertheless, the Phillies likely found Soto intriguing in part because of his combination of stuff and deception. He averaged over 98 mph on his fastball last season. He throws from an unusual release point, too, one that sees him get deep extension from a lower arm slot. That combination no doubt helps to explain why he’s punched out more than a batter per inning for his career.
Soto is under team control through the 2025 season, making him a potential long-term fit, so far as relief options go.
Soto is the third notable addition the Phillies have made to their bullpen this winter. Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld had previously signed Matt Strahm and Craig Kimbrel. The latter’s arrival led Dombrowski to suggest the Phillies would likely enter the season with a closer-by-committee approach.
“Not to say [Kimbrel] won’t close games or saying that can’t happen, but it was important to discuss beforehand,” Dombrowski told MLB.com. “We feel like we have the makings of a real good bullpen. We have quite a few guys who can pitch with a one-run lead late in the game, which we think is extremely important.”
It’s unclear if the Phillies will change their philosophy with Soto in tow. It seems more likely that manager Rob Thomson enters the season with an intend to mix and match based on matchup and availability.
CBS Sports will have more on this story as it develops.