Joseph may be on block as Phils weigh options

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Trades are expected before the end of the month. It would be stunning if Pat Neshek is not traded. Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Nava could be traded, too.

Of course, those trades are obvious because they are veterans that will be free agents following the season.

But the Phillies will be talking about first baseman Tommy Joseph, too. It is not a surprise for a couple reasons. First, Phillies president Andy MacPhail said last week in New York that nobody is untouchable. Second, Triple-A Lehigh Valley first baseman Rhys Hoskins is ready for a promotion.

“It’s something I’m aware of,” Joseph said of the roster jam at first base. “He’s a really good player. It’s a decision that the front office and Pete will have to make. He’s been playing well. I’ve been playing well.”

Joseph went 2-for-2 with one double, one home run and two walks in Friday’s game. He is hitting .251 with 15 home runs, 43 RBIs and a .778 OPS. He has hit .273 with 14 homers, 36 RBIs and an .869 OPS since May 1.

Hoskins is hitting .292 with 20 homers, 66 RBIs and a .968 OPS in the Minors.

Hoskins, Kingery to rep Phils at Futures Game

“They can’t coexist,” Mackanin said. “I don’t think it would be fair to either guy. It wouldn’t be fair to us. It wouldn’t be fair to Tommy. Tommy’s got a chance to hit 30 home runs and drive in 90 runs. To take the possibility away from him, I don’t think it’s fair to him, regardless of what we think about him. He’s a pretty good hitter and to bring Rhys up here just to play part time doesn’t make sense to me.”

Three other Triple-A prospects could see time before the end of the season: Shortstop J.P. Crawford, outfielder Dylan Cozens and catcher Jorge Alfaro. Each is on the 40-man roster. Second baseman Scott Kingery is unlikely to join the team before the end of the season for multiple reasons.

“J.P. has to hit better to come up,” Mackanin said.

In 17 games since sitting because of a nagging groin injury, Crawford has hit .281 with five doubles, two triples, three home runs, 11 RBIs and a .941 OPS. He has 10 walks and 10 strikeouts in that span.

Crawford hit .194 with just seven extra-base hits and a .565 OPS in his first 56 games.

Cozens is hitting .238 with 19 homers, 54 RBIs and a .784 OPS. He has an .883 OPS since May 1. Alfaro posted an .896 OPS in April, but just a .612 OPS since.

“He’s been hot and cold,” Mackanin said about Alfaro. “He has his good moments and his off moments.”

And behind the plate?

“Mixed results right now,” Mackanin said. “He has good days and bad days. It’s a learning process.”

Mackanin reiterated that this season is about figuring out which players will be part of the future and which ones will not.

“Yes or no, at least we’re going to have an answer,” Mackanin said.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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