Tommy Joseph

2 former Phillies find new teams

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2 former Phillies find new teams

It's been a busy few days in the ex-Phillie roster moves department.

Cameron Rupp and Andres Blanco both signed minor-league deals, Rupp with the Rangers and Blanco with the Brewers.

Rupp was a free agent after being released by the Phils on March 26. It wasn't surprising that he found a new team just a week later because of how few quality backup catchers there are leaguewide. At the very least, a team knows Rupp can provide some power off the bench.

Rupp was the odd man out among Phillies' catchers and his poor spring did not help. He went 7 for 37 (.189) with 15 strikeouts and was designated for assignment as camp came to a close.

In just over 1,000 career at-bats in the majors, Rupp has hit .234/.298/.407. He's hit 14 and 16 home runs the last two seasons.

Blanco was released by the Giants on March 23. Last season, his fourth with the Phillies, was a struggle. Blanco hit .192 with a .549 OPS after hitting .274 with a .795 OPS the previous three years. He turns 34 on April 11.

Elsewhere, Vance Worley reportedly opted out of his minor-league contract with the Reds and is now a free agent. Late last week, the Rangers designated Tommy Joseph for assignment and he accepted it. He'll play with Double A Frisco, while his former teammate Rupp will be at Triple A Round Rock in the same system.

Phillies lose Tommy Joseph to Rangers

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Phillies lose Tommy Joseph to Rangers

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tommy Joseph is headed to the American League. The Texas Rangers claimed him off waivers on Monday. The Arizona native will head to his home state to join the Rangers for the remainder of spring training.

The Phillies designated Joseph for assignment last week. The move was made to clear room for pitcher Jake Arrieta on the 40-man roster. 

Joseph, 26, joined the Phillies organization in the summer of 2012 in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco. At the time, Joseph was a catcher. A series of concussions nearly ended his career, but he converted to first base and forged his way to the majors in May 2016. He hit 43 home runs the last two seasons, but did not reach base enough to satisfy a front office that wants to build a lineup around players with that skill. The emergence of Rhys Hoskins last season and the signing of free-agent first baseman Carlos Santana this winter made Joseph expendable and efforts to trade him were fruitless.

Joseph’s power makes him a potential fit for a role as a designated hitter. He could also see some time at first base, with Joey Gallo owning a .199 career batting average against lefties.

Joseph is now on the Rangers’ 40-man roster.

Phillies hope to hang on to Tommy Joseph after lopping him from roster

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Phillies hope to hang on to Tommy Joseph after lopping him from roster

BOX SCORE

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jake Arrieta’s big day was Tommy Joseph’s bad day.

Arrieta passed his physical exam in Philadelphia on Monday and his three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies became official (see story). In need of a 40-man roster spot for Arrieta, the Phillies designated Joseph for assignment. Within the next week, Joseph will either be traded or claimed by another club on waivers. If he clears waivers, he could be sent to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

“We would like it to break that he’s still with us going forward,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

Joseph, 26, joined the Phillies organization in the summer of 2012 in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco. At the time, Joseph was a catcher. A series of concussions nearly ended his career, but he converted to first base and forged his way to the majors in May 2016. He hit 43 home runs the last two seasons, but did not reach base enough to satisfy a front office that wants to build a lineup around players with that skill. The emergence of Rhys Hoskins last season and the signing of free-agent first baseman Carlos Santana this winter made Joseph expendable and efforts to trade him were fruitless.

During his time in the majors, Joseph emerged as one of the most likeable and respected players in the Phillies clubhouse. His courageous journey from nearly being out of baseball to the major leagues is chronicled here.

In just a short time together, Kapler grew to appreciate Joseph’s maturity and team-first attitude.

“Everyone here has an incredible amount of respect for Tommy,” Kapler said. “It’s a loss in the clubhouse.”

Kapler informed Joseph of the news before the Phillies played the Braves at Disney.

“He took it like a professional,” Kapler said. “Every conversation I’ve had with Tommy has been the same – professional, thoughtful. He’s been a joy.”

Notes
• The Phillies rallied to beat the Braves, 3-0, on the strength of Mitch Walding’s three-run homer against Arodys Vizcaino in the top of the eighth inning. The Phillies had been no-hit through seven innings. J.P. Crawford opened the eighth with a bloop double. Those were the Phils’ only two hits.

Zach Eflin was impressive with five innings of one-hit ball. He struck out two and walked none. Eflin is a candidate for a job in the back half of the rotation, but the addition of Arrieta could mean he opens at Triple A.

• Arrieta will report to Clearwater on Tuesday morning and be introduced in a news conference. Kapler said team officials would gauge Arrieta’s readiness to pitch when he arrives. Arrieta has been working out and throwing so he should not be far behind. Nonetheless, Kapler said he will stick with Aaron Nola as opening day starter.

“He has earned that right,” Kapler said.