The need for a couple of solid arms in the pitching rotation is the biggest need for the Phillies this offseason. An equally pressing need for them is to trim the fat of a team member who is going to weigh the team down. The biggest weight that isn’t named Maikel Franco is without a doubt Tommy Joseph. So the question has lingered with the rise of Rhys Hoskins: Is there place for Tommy Joseph on the next contending Phillies team?
Last season, Joseph was a breath of fresh air in regards to first base. Things looked bleak at that position for the Phillies with Ryan Howard in his last year with the team and Darin Ruf as the Phillies’ first baseman of the next year or so.
Joseph heated up right in time to spare Philadelphia the misfortune of enduring Ruf. He posted a 0.5 WAR that year and showed that he has a lot of power to unlock by hitting 21 home runs. He started that year off in Triple-A hitting .308 in 32 games and that earned him a promotion. But since being promoted, he’s had a .248 batting average over a span of two years. Not very promising.
Joseph has struggled this season; there’s no other way to put it. His on-base percentage is a weak .289 and he has a -1.2 WAR, the worst WAR numbers on the team. He’s struck out 122 times in 132 games and has a disappointing .238 batting average. His team-high 21 home runs are the only positive he’s brought to the Phillies, but Hoskins has quickly threatened Joseph’s lead since being called up.
The case for Joseph as a Phillie in 2018 dwindles with every home run that Hoskins hits. At this point, it ought to be slim odds that he will be sticking around in Philadelphia. The rookie’s surging bat has positively solidified his place at first base, forcing Joseph out of the picture for Philadelphia.
Now that the offense is finally starting to take shape thanks to the plethora of young talent making their arrival, it’s time to explore other options for people like him on the team. Where does that put Joseph in 2018? The obvious answer is to have Joseph traded over the offseason and clear a path to the Hall of Fame for Hoskins at first base.
The only problem that’s there is the limited value of what you can get for Joseph. Sure, you could upsell his home run value and his above average defense at first base, but you wouldn’t get much value for him as a standalone player. He would need to get packaged with other players and the Phillies are currently built for that. Joseph and a mixture of teammates that serve a better purpose as trade chips for a starting arm would be the best outcome for the Phillies this offseason.