It was a brutal day last summer when the Phillies acquired Tommy Joseph.
Emotions were high. Shane Victorino was gone. Hunter Pence was going. And in a day or so, the Legend of Joe Blanton would be coming to an uneventful close in Philadelphia. Even if people were pretending they weren’t sad about specific players leaving, the symbolism of gutting the team and foregoing the playoffs was a measurable bummer, desperately requiring an antidote.
“I know!” we exclaimed, and rushed to the liquor cabinet. After a few minutes of pleads from our families to not spend the day inside the cabinet sobbing, we turned elsewhere for rujvenation.
“Well, why don’t we take a look at these prospects, I guess,” we decided, giving the cabinet one last glance of desire. Maybe checking out what we were getting in return would make us feel feelings again.
Among the haul was a young catcher, 22-year-old Tommy Joseph. Sure, he had two first names, what of it?! The scouts loved him, the analysts loved him, and suddenly, Sebastian Valle was expendable. This farm system was flush with catchers, and the Phillies, a team who traditionally treats the raising of its next franchise backstop as a religious process, knew how to use them.
But only if they stay catchers.
Three concussions later, Tommy Joseph is being considered for another position. Any other position. Something that will just keep the poor kid’s head from filling with blood. A .179 average in 36 games at Reading isn’t a great sign, despite the inspiring show Joseph put on in training camp a few months ago.
Where will Joseph go? No one knows. But if the Phillies want him to be a prospect at all, it’s time for a dramatic change.