Phillies add former Braves veteran to an already crowded outfield competition

Jordan Luplow's new minor league deal adds to the Phillies' outfield depth and the fierce spring training competition.

Philadelphia Phillies have signed former Atlanta Braves outfielder Jordan Luplow to a minor league deal
Philadelphia Phillies have signed former Atlanta Braves outfielder Jordan Luplow to a minor league deal / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Phillies continue adding depth to the organization as they wrap up the last two weeks of spring training. According to MLB insider Robert Murray of FanSided, the Phillies reached a minor league deal with veteran utility man Jordan Luplow on Friday night.

Recently released by the Atlanta Braves, the 30-year-old was having a solid spring during his time in Braves camp. Luplow, a right-handed hitter, put together a .276 batting average with eight hits, three home runs, and seven RBI in 29 at-bats before his release. A veteran of seven major league seasons, Luplow is a career .212 hitter with 47 home runs and 125 RBI in 361 games.

Luplow has never hit for a high batting average. The former 2014 third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates has only produced two seasons with a batting average above .240, with his best a .276 average that came in a solid 2019, which also saw Luplow achieve career highs in home runs (15) and RBI (38). Having played for six different teams in seven years, Luplow is the classic example of an MLB journeyman.

The versatile Luplow has played all over the diamond over the course of his career. While most of his playing time has come in the outfield, he has also spent time at a number of infield positions and has made few appearances on the mound as a pitcher. The Phillies will now add Luplow to a crowded outfield mix during the last couple weeks of spring training.

Phillies continue to add outfield depth with questions about Johan Rojas' bat

The struggles of Johan Rojas to hit consistently have been well noted. Coming into this spring, manager Rob Thomson has given Rojas a long leash to prove he belongs on the Opening Day roster. His spring training stats to date are a cause for concern, as Rojas has hit only .152 with five hits, zero home runs, and four RBIs while striking out seven times and not drawing a walk in 33 at-bats.

The Phillies entered spring training with Jake Cave and Cristian Pache in the mix for the fourth and fifth outfield spots, with both having been members of the Phillies last season. During the offseason, the team signed one-time MLB All-Star David Dahl to a minor league deal and added Cal Stevenson on a minor league pact. The Phillies notably signed All-Star utility man Whit Merrifield to a free agent deal at the beginning of camp, and he's expected to see time in the outfield this season as well.

The Phillies' approach seems to be that having too much outfield depth is a problem they would gladly accept after a rough stretch last season that exposed the team's outfield defense as a critical weak point. Rojas' defense might have saved them when they were fighting for a playoff spot in 2023, but it's clear that the Phillies will give the youngster a quick hook if his troubles at the plate continue. All told, the signing of Jordan Luplow is a minor move that makes the Phillies stronger at the upper minor league levels this season.

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