Joseph was originally a second round pick by the Giants way back in 2009. He was a catcher, but injuries and poor defense behind the plate forced a permanent move to first base in 2015. He ended up on the Phillies, and made his big league debut in 2016.
In only 315 at-bats, Joseph mashed 21 home runs and 15 doubles. He posted an excellent .248 ISO and slashed a respectable .257/.308/.505 with a 112 wRC+. He offered power in bunches and decent defense, and looked like Philly’s answer at first.
2017 was a step back for the hulking slugger. While he managed 22 home runs he did it in 495 at-bats, seeing his ISO drop to .192. He only slashed .240/.289/.432, and his defense suffered as well.
Joseph was let go by Philadelphia and found his way to Texas, where he spent all of 2018 between AA/AAA. He posted very solid numbers at Triple-A, hitting 21 home runs with a .284/.353/.549 slash line and a 131 wRC+.
The Detroit Tigers are lacking first base depth more than any other position. Assuming Miguel Cabrera moves to full-time DH, the Tigers have John Hicks, Jim Adduci and Edwin Espinal in the upper minors/majors at first. While Joseph isn’t great, he certainly could contend for Detroit’s starting first base gig at the moment.
Hicks is probably the front-runner, but with how poorly Grayson Greiner looked last season it may make sense to have Hicks split time with James McCann behind the plate, freeing Joseph up to play first base on a regular basis.
Worst case, Joseph would be good depth to have at Toledo, as he has clearly proven he can be a middle of the order bat at that level.