Detroit Tigers need to think it through with Gregory Soto.
The Detroit Tigers must be cautious regarding closer Gregory Soto and his future with the organization. It's no shock that there will be some discussions about the team's bullpen. It has been an area of discussion over the last few years.
Surprisingly, the Detroit Tigers bullpen was one of the team's better groups during the 2022 season. The thing that will change moving forward is that Scott Harris will use the strategy, out with the old and in with the new.
What it means for the Tigers is starting to trade away some of the pieces that are not going to be here on the true "other side" of the rebuild when the team pushes for a postseason appearance. While Joe Jiménez is coming off of a big season and could be trade bait, there are others.
Gregory Soto is one of those players who may be shopped this off-season. The Tigers will have to make some decisions, and Harris already mentioned there would be some calculated risks taken. Teams are going to call, but it's going to be up to Harris and the new front office crew.
Moving Soto would leave the Tigers without a closer. However, there are reasons to view this as a benefit for the team moving forward. The team may be able to get a higher trade package than expected from a team who desperately needs another relief arm.
Soto found his way into 64 games during the 2022 season, accumulating 60.1 innings pitched. He would finish with a 3.28 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and pick up 60 punchouts. He collected 30 saves on the season as well.
It has not always been one of the smoothest roads for Soto in closing situations. There are shaky outings and ones where he loads up the bases. The flame-throwing left-hander has shown he can be efficient, but finding other options for the closing job may be something else Harris and company need to consider.
Soto can bring value to the Tigers as a high-leverage arm; if he is kept around, I'll continue to beat the drum that the Tigers should find an "outside hire" to be the true closer. A veteran closer who has performed and been able to log some time on the big stage in the postseason.
Sure, Soto has picked up saves over the years, but none of them have been truly meaningful saves. Maybe that's wrong to say, but there have not been a lot of high-leverage situations for the Tigers ball club in recent years, with everything on the line or a playoff berth hinging on the performance/outcome.
For the Tigers, there is just some discussions that need to be had. The Tigers have to be smart. If the right offer comes up and someone is willing to meet the value that Harris places on Soto, he needs to pull the trigger on the trade.
It's a similar mentality to what I stated with the Tigers and Jiménez. The difference with Soto is the value he could recoup may help the Tigers add something beneficial in another area. Harris has this train starting to churn in the right direction, and more moves are likely coming.