The St. Louis Cardinals made their first move near the trade deadline on Saturday, sending infielder Edmondo Sosa to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for left-arm reliever Jojo Romero, the teams announced.
Romero, 25, has scored 19 runs in 21 innings that have come out of the Phillies bullpen over the past three seasons. He underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2021, and has since been extensively rehabbing in the minor leagues, making just two appearances in the big leagues this season.
“We explored a lot of different things for SOSA, obviously, trying to find something that can help us now,” said John Mozeliac, the Cardinals’ president of baseball operations. “It was something we wished for, but we were never really at the point where we felt like we were doing it. And so eventually, we decided to pivot and think a little bit about our future.” “
Sosa, who took over as the Cardinals’ starting shortstop at the end of the 2021 season and was their starter in the wild card game against the Dodgers, scored just .189 runs in part-time action this season. In recent days, as St. Louis promoted former starting shortstop Paul DeJong to the team’s taxi squad, it became clear that finding a roster spot for DeJong was a serious concern.
“Had a good conversation with him,” said manager Oliver Marmol. “I love having him. I’ve known him for a while; a long, long time. So not seeing him with us isn’t ideal, but we need a place on the roster, so it makes sense.”
Without the ability to send Sosa to the minor leagues independently, a trade was necessary. In contrast, Romero has one minor league option remaining after this season, and represents an opportunity for roster flexibility while filling in depth.
Brandon Waddell, who pitched for the Cardinals in 2021, signed in Korea during this season, and even with Packie Naughton and Zack Thompson establishing themselves in the Major League bullpen, depth options in Memphis were thin.
Romero fills that role by playing another role.
Djong’s promotion opened by this trade would include an opportunity for him to reclaim the initial shortstop job, which the Cardinals envisioned remaining through the start of the season. He, in turn, slides Tommy Edman across the diamond back to second base. Nolan Gorman, in the lineup as the designated hitter on Saturday, could provide balance to Albert Pujols in that role.
Or, by shuffling these pieces, the cardinals may be ready to reel in a much larger fish, and the Gorman may well be the bait.
Friday’s trade between the Cincinnati Reds and the Seattle Mariners, in which Luis Castillo was sent off to the Pacific Northwest, took both his time (three days before the deadline) and the cost paid by Seattle (two in Baseball America’s Top 100). possibility) came as a surprise in the case of both. two others in their organizational top 30).
For the Cardinals, working on parallel tracks as of Tuesday evening, the cost of upgrades on the mound could be potential capital better spent on a unicorn-esque superstar like Washington’s Juan Soto.
“Obviously there are some names being discussed out there that can arguably be a little unusual, given the years of control,” Mozeliac acknowledged. After this season, Soto has two full years of team control.
“I agree it’s rare,” he said. “But finding a meeting of minds on something like this is going to be complicated, because it’s not like we can look to past markets or past precedent to say what’s appropriate.”
This transaction, which of course defines all trade negotiations, is intensified in this instance given the many variables at play.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said over the radio in DC this week that he was not keen on Soto engaging a “bad” contract in a trade in an effort to limit potential costs.
And yet, the definition of bad can be changed. And if cost isn’t limited, but simply replaced, or negotiated, there is room in the middle ground. And Rizzo denied on the same show less than two months ago that Citizens wanted to trade Soto.
Time is changing. rapidly.
It is unlikely that the SOSA trade is the only deal Redbird will execute until the bell on Tuesday at 5 p.m. With the president, general manager and two of three assistant general managers gathering at National Park over the weekend, there is no shortage of options and scenarios to sift through the team’s ballpark suite.
“I don’t think this time of year matters to our model, like how we’re thinking about value propositions,” Mozeliac said. “What matters to the model is the cost of acquisition, because that’s what everyone is trying to navigate.
“If you’re a buyer, you’re trying to understand what those costs look like. If you’re a seller, you’re trying to maximize what you’re selling. That’s the practice everyone is doing right now.” Used to be.”