The Phillies and Cardinals announced an agreement on a trade sending infielder Edmundo Sosa from St. Louis to Philadelphia for left-handers Jo Jo Romero. Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Katie Woo First it was reported that Sosa was traded to Philadelphia. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in recent days that the Cards have been discussing trades Sosa is involved in and could bring Paul DeJong back to the big league.
The Cards and Phillies go into play on Saturday for the last wild card spot in the National League. It’s rare for clubs to be so close in the table and swap big leagues, but the teams’ needs matched well enough to make a deal possible. Sosa had surpassed DeJong on the depth chart late last season, getting the lion’s share of shortstop playtime at the stretch and posting a solid .271/.346/.389 line on his first extended run in the major leagues. However, both players have since been ousted due to the arrival of the best prospects Nolan Gorman pushed at second base Tommy Edman via pocket to shortstop.
Kicked on the bench as a service provider, Sosa faced significant problems in 2022. He hasn’t racked up a single homer in 131 plate appearances, hitting just .189/.244/.270 with a 29% strikeout rate. He’s out of minor league option years, so the Cardinals had to either keep Sosa on the active roster or make him available to other teams. They initially opted for an option on DeJong to keep both players in the 40-man roster, but the latter has been on a strong run at Triple-A Memphis of late. DeJong has a .249/.313/.552 with 17 homers in 230 plate appearances since his option, and he’s apparently being called back to support Gorman, Edman and Utilityman Brendan Donovan as a powerful deep infielder.
Philadelphia has a less robust collection of infielders than St. Louis, giving them more motivation to keep Sosa on the active roster and hope he rediscovers something closer to his 2021 form. The Phils counted on it BrysonStott and Didier Gregory midfield lately and Gregorius has struggled for the second year in a row. The forthcoming return of Jean Segura from the injury-list numbers to kick Stott back to shortstop, and it’s worth wondering how the Phillies will handle the infield mix at this point. Gregorius could move into a utility role, but his .218/.274/.320 line could jeopardize his roster spot. Philadelphia could also choose one of the options John Camargo or Yairo Munozeach of whom has played sporadically (mainly Gregorius versus left-handed pitching) in a utility infield capacity.
Sosa is only 26 years old and controllable until the 2026 season. He’ll likely qualify for arbitration as a Super Two player this offseason, but he wouldn’t ask for an exorbitant salary if he underperforms in sporadic season this year. The Phillies could keep him as a deep infielder for a while if they commit to keeping him on the active roster.
In return, the Phils send a left-handed bullpen arm to St. Louis. Romero has appeared in 25 MLB games over the past three seasons and has a 7.89 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old has been pretty prone to home runs in the big leagues, but he’s averaged close to 95 MPH with his fastball and received decent marks on both changeup and slider when he was a prospect.
Romero has missed most of the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery last May, but he returned from the injured list a couple of weeks ago. He’s in his second of three option seasons, allowing the Cards to move him between St. Louis and Memphis over the next year and a half if he keeps his 40-man roster spot. St. Louis already has it Genesis Cabrera, Zack Thompson, Packy Naughton and TJ McFarland as a left-hander in the majors, but Romero adds a hard-throwing depth piece to the upper tiers.
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