Phillies Transactions

Why Rojas was sent down and what Phillies need to see from him

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There were multiple layers to the Phillies' decision Monday afternoon with Johan Rojas, who was optioned to Triple A to make room on the active roster for a returning Trea Turner.

Part of it was a roster crunch. Rojas had minor-league options remaining while Cristian Pache and David Dahl did not. Had the Phillies tried to send Pache or Dahl to the minor leagues, they'd have first had to pass them through waivers and there is a high likelihood either player would have been claimed.

The other piece of it is Rojas' offensive approach and output. The Phillies want him to cut down his swing, utilize more of the field and improve his bunting. They've been looking for that development from him since spring training but it hasn't come.

"Those are the things that we need because I think if he's doing what he can do on offense — which is just be a table-setter really, have good at-bats, be able to move the ball, move runners — with him playing center field, this is probably the best version of our club," manager Rob Thomson said.

"He took it very well, very professionally. I think he's going to go down there and work at it. This is a good opportunity for Ro to develop a little bit. Get a little bit of a reset, be able to relax and do the things we're asking him to do."

Thomson reiterated that he feels the best version of the Phillies' lineup has Rojas in center field, where he showed last summer the sort of impact he can make defensively. He hasn't been nearly as valuable in the field or on the basepaths as last summer, when he probably played over his head. He's been picked off three times this season and committed more physical and mental mistakes in center than he did in the 59 major-league games he played in 2023.

"Concentrate on reading pitchers, studying pitchers, pitchers' tendencies, their times to the plate, good secondary leads," Thomson said. "But most of it's probably on the offensive side."

Without Rojas, the Phillies will optimize for more offense in the outfield. Brandon Marsh will platoon in center field with Pache and Whit Merrifield will share left field with Dahl.

"Still want to get Marsh at-bats against left-handed pitchers, we'll try to pick and choose," Thomson said. "But for the most part, I think we'll platoon it."

Edmundo Sosa also began getting work in left field on Monday before the Phillies' series opener against the Padres. If Sosa takes to the position — his hands, defensive ability and instincts indicate he will — he could become another option alongside Merrifield against left-handed pitching.

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