Kody Clemens: The “other guy” in a recent Phillies trade

Jul 6, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Kody Clemens (21) dives back to first during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 6, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Kody Clemens (21) dives back to first during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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While everybody was surely riveted by the analysis of 15 fascinating votes for Speaker of the US House Saturday, the Philadelphia Phillies continued to rebuild in order to keep pace in the viciously competitive NL East by trading for an All-Star reliever and a relatively young utility player named Kody Clemens.

One observer has already called the five-player trade a “rip-off” from the proper point of view of the Detroit Tigers, the Phillies’ trading partner this time around. The Tigers, of course, were built by current Phils president Dave Dombrowski into a World Series team, if not a winner, so there is a familiarity factor here.

The prize of the trade is Gregory Soto, a fire-balling, left-handed reliever, but our subject here is the other guy the Phillies acquired – Roger Clemens’ third son to enter professional baseball, Kody.

Does Kody Clemens give the Phillies a foolproof way to end a long-standing team tendency?

At this point an infielder/outfielder, he is 26, and leaves the Tigers as their 18th ranked prospect. He was the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in 2018.

Kody Clemens hits left-handed, throws right, and has 127 MLB plate appearances under his belt. He has hit .145 thus far, and about the only thing that catches your eye on his limited MLB stat sheet is that, for a position player, he has already pitched in a lot of games. Seven, in fact – all losses in which Detroit was blown out, and one inning in each case.

But his ERA is a respectable 3.86 (with a 3.25 FIP). Well, his name is Clemens.

At this point, however, one must assume the Phillies have more interest in Clemens’ very respectable showing at the Triple-A level as a hitter – .312 and .327 OBPs at Toledo in 2021 and ’22. He is a reasonably big guy, like his father, and has hit 31 Triple-A home runs and driven in 102 in 157 games. (He hit five homers for the Tigers with 17 RBI.)

The scouting report for Kody Clemens is not especially encouraging, with evaluation numbers all in the below average or average range, but some observers apparently see a player with a “grinder mentality” who has already made an important adjustment as a hitter. His focus is now, allegedly, on line drives instead of “pull-power.”

In fact, no one really knows how useful Clemens will be to the Phillies. In all regards except his famous name, he is a classic throw-in player in a trade.

However, if there is a hopeful indicator for the Phillies about this throw-in, it might be related to the team’s history of always hiring the “wrong” brother. Philadelphia’s list in this regard in impressive, including Bill Hubbell (not Carl), Vince DiMaggio (not Joe), and Frank Torre (not Joe, either as a player or manager).

That’s an impressive “fail list” all by itself, but the Phillies added to it Ken Brett, Mike Maddux, Mark Leiter, and Jeremy Giambi. Indeed, it might even be argued that the team’s use of Ruben Amaro, Jr. as a player, if not an executive, was an inferior move to adding his father to the roster decades before. Ruben Sr. had a longer playing career, drove in more runs, and “retrospectively posted” a higher WAR than his son.

The good news here, however, is that Kody Clemens might just be the right brother in his family. Older brother Kacy, 28, is playing independent ball after topping out at the Double-A level. And Roger’s eldest, Koby, 36, peaked at the Triple-A level in Houston’s organization, hitting .234, and stopped playing pro ball in 2014.

The Phillies left handed firepower. dark. Next

Phillies fans can cross their fingers and hope that Kody Clemens will break their team’s streak of always picking the wrong guy in the family.