The Rangers have claimed first baseman Tommy Joseph off waivers from the Phillies, according to an announcement from Texas. In a corresponding move, the Rangers placed right-hander Clayton Blackburn on the 60-day disabled list with a strained pitching elbow.
Joseph, whom Philadelphia designated for assignment last week to make room for Jake Arrieta, lost his footing with the club after the emergence of Rhys Hoskins in 2017 and the signing of Carlos Santana during the offseason. There was simply no room on the Phillies’ roster for Joseph, a former catcher prospect who has become a first base/DH option in the majors.
The 26-year-old Joseph debuted with the Phillies in 2016 and was a solidly above-average hitter that year, with a .257/.308/.505 line (112 wRC+), 21 home runs and a .248 ISO in 347 plate appearances. Joseph went backward over a 533-PA sample size in 2017, though, as he slashed a subpar .240/.289/.432 (85 wRC+) with 22 HRs and a .192 ISO.
While Joseph was a regular in Philadelphia, that’s unlikely to be the case in Texas. With Joey Gallo occupying first and Shin-Soo Choo as the Rangers’ primary DH, there’s no obvious path to playing time for Joseph. He’ll either open the season on optional assignment or attempt to bounce back from last season as a bench bat.