Outfielder Tommy Pham was traded from the Mets to the Diamondbacks prior to the trade deadline but seemingly had plenty of interest around the league. Per a report from Ken Rosenthal and Will Sammon of The Athletic, the Twins, Yankees, Dodgers, Rays and Padres all had interest in him. That’s in addition to reported interest from other clubs, such as the Blue Jays, Rangers and Phillies.
Pham, 35, has had many strong seasons in his career but has been a bit inconsistent of late. From 2015 to 2019, he hit a combined .277/.373/.472 for a wRC+ of 130, producing above-average offense in each individual season. He struggled in 2020 by hitting .211/.312/.312, but there were reasons to expect that was a blip. That year was played in the unusual circumstances of the pandemic, with the season shortened to just 60 games. Pham also suffered a fractured hamate that year and only played 31 of those 60 contests.
He was able to get back on track somewhat in 2021, with a line of .229/.340/.383. Buoyed by a 13.9% walk rate, his wRC+ was 103, indicating he was 3% above league average. But last year, that walk rate dipped to 9% and his line of .236/.312/.374 resulted in a wRC+ of 90.
On the heels of that down year, the Mets were able to sign him to a one-year deal with a modest $6MM guarantee. They were likely intrigued by Pham’s continued excellent with the platoon advantage, as he still hit .273/.338/.446 against lefties despite the subpar season overall in 2022. That’s long been a strength for him, as he’s hit .271/.382/.456 against southpaws for his career as a whole.
The Mets were rewarded by seeing Pham bounce back into good form. In 79 games as a Met, he hit .268/.348/.472 for a wRC+ of 125, and he wasn’t limited to platoon work either. He produced solid work regardless of who was on the mound, slashing .255/.339/.532 against lefties and .277/.355/.431 versus righties. He hasn’t quite been able to carry that over to his new club, hitting .243/.290/.417 while striking out in a quarter of his trips to the plate. Although he was walking at an 11% clip with the Mets, that rate has dropped to just 5.6% with Arizona.
The fact that Pham had such widespread interest prior to the deadline would seem to bode well for him this winter. Even with his dip in results since the deal, his season-long offense translates to a wRC+ of 113, his highest such figure since 2019. His Statcast page features plenty of red, as he is in the 94th percentile in terms of average exit velocity and 92nd in hard hit rate. He’s also stolen 17 bases so far this year and is considered around league average in the field by both Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average.
What might help Pham, beyond his own results, is the relative lack of impact bats available this winter. The upcoming free agent class leans heavily to the pitching side, which could give Pham and other hitters some leverage in finding deals to their liking.
Turning to those specific teams mentioned in today’s report, the Twins will have plenty of left-handed bats in their corner outfield/designated hitter mix next year, including Max Kepler, Edouard Julien, Matt Wallner, Alex Kirilloff, Andrew Stevenson and Trevor Larnach. The Rays love to play matchups and could fit Pham into a platoon with lefties like Josh Lowe, Luke Raley or Jonathan Aranda. The Yankees are currently giving playing time to younger guys like Jasson Domínguez and Everson Pereira but might want to add some veteran presence for next year. The Dodgers are about to see both David Peralta and Jason Heyward become free agents. The Padres have three outfielders in Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto and Trent Grisham but designated hitter has been a big hole all year thanks to the struggles of players like Nelson Cruz and Matt Carpenter.