You wanted a trade, you got a trade.
The Phillies have acquired shortstop Edmundo Sosa from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for left-handed reliever JoJo Romero, Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski announced today.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 30, 2022
Certainly an interesting deal as both of these teams are battling to grab one of the last spots in the National League playoff picture. We’ll get to the Romero part of it in a minute.
Onto Sosa, this is a move with defense in mind. Over the past two seasons, Sosa has +7 OAA at shortstop, tied for twelfth among all shortstops with at least 250 attempts at the position. For reference, in that same cluster of shortstops, Didi Gregorius ranks dead last with -21 OAA. His batting line this year has been pretty bad, but there was some hope shown last season when he hit .271/.346/.389 over 326 plate appearances. His underlying numbers suggested last season made him one of the better breakout candidates in the league, but it just never came to fruition.
How the team uses him is probably already obvious. With his ability to move around the infield and provide a quality glove, late inning defensive replacement is likely his way onto the roster. Defense has been the team’s Achilles heel all year, so having someone like Sosa be able to come in somewhere gives the team someone who can help late in games.
For Jojo Romero, it’s sad to see a homegrown product go. Certainly moving someone who does have minor league options left, particularly a left handed relief pitcher, in exchange for someone who does not have options left is a little strange on the surface, but the team must feel comfortable with the rehabbing options they have coming back in Sam Coonrod and Ryan Sherriff that they thought Romero was expendable. Having Jose Alvarado become dominant again has to have played a role in their thinking as well, as keeping Romero around for insurance suddenly doesn’t seem so urgent. In small sample sizes, Romero has seen his hard hit and barrel percentages start to creep up, which doesn’t mean a whole lot, but could have given them pause as to how effective he could be moving forward.
It’s an interesting deal, but probably one that has ramifications elsewhere. Is there another deal for a reliever on the horizon? Are there 40-man roster issues that the team has next year that they decided to use Romero to improve the current team this year? Regardless, the team did get better around the edges, something they haven’t done well the past few years.