The Phillies announced that they’ve designated first baseman Tommy Joseph for assignment. His removal from the 40-man roster creates a spot for right-hander Jake Arrieta, whose multi-year deal with the Phillies has now been formally announced by the team.
Joseph, 26, simply found himself without a clear path to playing time after the Phils elected to give big money to Carlos Santana earlier in the winter. Without a DH spot to hide an extra bat, Joseph was a marginal competitor for a bench spot in camp.
That’s not to say he won’t hold some appeal to other organizations, though. Joseph has shown plenty of pop in his first two years in the majors, putting the ball over the fence 43 times in 880 plate appearances. But he’ll certainly need to boost his .297 OBP if he’s going to hold down a big league job, particularly given his lack of defensive flexibility.
Things would surely look quite a bit different if Joseph was still catching. Once a top-tier prospect as a backstop, concussion problems forced him out from behind the plate. The fact that he was still able to reach the majors as a first baseman is testament both to his talent and effort.