Phillies sign another veteran outfielder to compete for bench job

The Phillies added another outfielder to the mix Saturday, signing 30-year-old veteran Jordan Luplow to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.

Luplow had just been released Thursday by the Braves, who gave him a chance to pursue other opportunities since he wouldn’t be making their Opening Day roster.

The right-handed-hitting Luplow has big-league time with six different teams across seven seasons and spent 2023 with the Blue Jays and Twins. His most playing time came in 2019 with Cleveland when he hit .276/.372/.551 with 15 home runs and 15 doubles in 261 plate appearances. In announcing the move, the Phillies pointed out that he ranks in the Top 10 among active players in pitches seen per plate appearances (min. 1000) at 4.26, which ranks just behind Max Muncy.

Defensively, the metrics peg him as average to slightly above. He’s spent equal time in right field and left field with a few dozen games in center.

Luplow joins a cast of outfielders vying to make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster. Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh and Whit Merrifield are locks but everything else is subject to change.

Johan Rojas leads the team in plate appearances this spring as the Phils give him every chance to earn the everyday center field job, though he hasn’t shown much offensive progress, going 5-for-35 with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Cristian Pache is still on the roster and out of minor-league options. Same with Jake Cave. David Dahl is not on the roster and is also out of options. Weston Wilson and Kody Clemens have options remaining.

The Rojas situation affects the composition of the bench because if the Phillies start him off at Triple A instead of the majors, two players could make the team from the group of Pache, Cave, Luplow, Dahl, Wilson, Clemens and Darick Hall instead of just one.

The Rojas situation, the final bench spot(s) and the last two bullpen jobs have provided the only real drama for the Phillies in camp, which is a good thing. They have 11 more games in Florida and close out Grapefruit League play on March 25 before opening the regular season at home against the Braves on March 28.