Cardinals trade Sosa to Phillies for lefty reliever, recall DeJong from Memphis

St. Louis Cardinals' Paul DeJong is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run...
St. Louis Cardinals' Paul DeJong is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday, April 9, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 1:28 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Cardinals kicked off the frenzied period ahead of the August 2 trade deadline with a minor move that sent infielder Edmundo Sosa to Philadelphia for a left-handed reliever.

The Cardinals acquired 25-year-old JoJo Romero in the deal. Romero has battled a checkered injury history in recent years, spending the majority of his healthy time this season in the minor leagues.

Making two big-league appearances with the Phillies on the season, Romero allowed three runs, making for a 13.50 ERA. But in 12 innings pitched across four minor-league affiliates this year, Romero has a 1.50 ERA with 15 strikeouts. Romero hasn’t gained much traction over his past three years, throwing just 21.2 MLB innings while compiling a 7.89 ERA.

If that feels like an uninspiring return for a big-league contributor, it’s probably a fair reaction. The Cardinals, however, had been aggressively shopping Sosa for weeks as the reserve infielder has struggled at the plate this season. Though Sosa’s defense, base running and general energy had been positives for the Cardinals during his past two seasons as a mainstay on the big-league roster, Sosa’s bat falling off a cliff this season put the team in a difficult position.

After hitting for a .271 batting average and productive .735 OPS last season, Sosa’s numbers dipped to a paltry .189 average and .515 OPS in 131 plate appearances in 2022. With Paul DeJong under contract and swinging a hot bat of late in Triple-A Memphis, the Cardinals began seeking suitors for Sosa’s services.

Because Sosa was out of minor-league options, the alternative to Saturday’s underwhelming trade would have been eventually designated Sosa for assignment, with the Cardinals ultimately receiving nothing in exchange if another team claimed him on waivers.

Upon the trade, the Cardinals have assigned Romero to the Memphis roster, with Paul DeJong claiming the open active roster spot for St. Louis. DeJong was optioned to Triple-A earlier this season after hitting just .130 in 24 games, but he has since found some rhythm in the minors which led the Cardinals to believe he merits another opportunity to show his improvements can be sustained at the highest level.

In 230 plate appearances in Memphis, DeJong hit 17 home runs and slugged .552 with an .865 OPS. Whether he sees regular time in the Cardinals lineup in lieu of Nolan Gorman or Tommy Edman within the middle infield depth chart remains to be seen.

Ultimately, the Cardinals felt DeJong had more value to the roster than Sosa at this point in the season, as the 28-year-old shortstop should provide, at a minimum, an additional power threat off the bench for St. Louis.