Clearing roster room for the newfound production of shortstop Paul DeJong, the Cardinals dealt reserve infielder Edmundo Sosa to the Phillies for Minor League reliever JoJo Romero on Saturday.
DeJong, St. Louis’ Opening Day shortstop who was sent to Triple-A in late April to try to rediscover his swing, was promptly recalled from Memphis upon the completion of the trade. He was in the starting lineup at shortstop and batting seventh for the Cardinals’ game against the Nationals on Saturday night.
Sosa, who was out of Minor League options, appeared in 53 games this season while filling in at shortstop and third base. In 122 at-bats, Sosa hit just .189 with eight RBIs and three stolen bases. The Panama native overtook DeJong late last season for the starting shortstop job, but he never could regain the form of 2021 — when he hit .271 with six home runs and 27 RBIs.
Cardinals get: Minor League LHP JoJo Romero
Phillies get: INF Edmundo Sosa
“Last year when you look at our stretch, they contributed a ton. They brought a ton of energy. Just kept everything lively and kind of brings excitement to the team,” manager Oliver Marmol said of Sosa. “Had a good conversation with him. I enjoyed having him. Seeing him not be with us is not ideal, but we needed space on our roster and it made sense.”
DeJong opened the season trying to get back to the form that allowed him to open his career with 25, 19 and 30 home runs from 2017-19. He still hit 19 home runs in 2021, but his average slumped to .197. He opened this season with a home run in the opening series against the Pirates, but he proceeded to strike out 25 times in his first 77 at-bats.
The veteran shortstop eventually hit his stride at the Triple-A level and impressed the Cardinals with his ability to hit the ball to all fields. In 51 games with the Redbirds, DeJong slashed .249/.313/.552 (.865 OPS) and led the International League with 17 home runs.
“In the last week or so we started to think about what our future was going to look like,” said Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. “Obviously, Paulie was doing well in Memphis. We knew the opportunity to get him back here was coming soon. So really, when you think about the x and y axes in terms of time and need, they just weren’t really ever going to cross in Sosa’s case. So, it was in our best interest to try to find something for him.
“We explored a lot of different things for Sosa, obviously trying to find something that could help us now, that was our desire. But we weren’t ever really at a point where we felt that we were doing that, so ultimately, we decided to pivot and think a little bit about our future, and that’s when we ended up on JoJo.”
Romero has one more year of Minor League options available. The 25-year-old, who was optioned to Triple-A Memphis upon the completion of the deal, has allowed 19 earned runs — including six home runs — in 21 2/3 innings at the Major League level.
“He’s somebody who has options, so we’re not forced to make any decision now,” Mozeliak said. “Could he contribute this year? Yes, but when you’re looking at someone who was out of options versus someone that has them, it just gives us more flexibility as you think about your roster, not just today but tomorrow.”