The Cincinnati Reds were in need of an outfielder (or two) in the worst of ways after watching Nick Castellanos leave into free agency and trading Jesse Winker to the Seattle Mariners. They’d brought in a few fringe players in that wake, players on minor league deals who could potentially stick, but their lineup was in dire need of something of a stalwart.
It appears that stalwart has been found for the 2022 season, at least. According to The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale, the Reds are in agreement with Tommy Pham on a 1-year contract (with a mutual option for 2023), adding a proven bat to the revamped lineup.
NEWS: The Reds are in agreement with free-agent outfielder Tommy Pham on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2023, according to a source. The deal is pending a physical. https://t.co/hjFs40XZcN— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) March 24, 2022
Pham, now 34, was the top projected OF left on the free agent board at this point, with FanGraphs projecting him to be valued at up to 2.2 WAR for the 2022 season. That’s a lot of 2s, 2s that would be good given the alternatives at this juncture. The former St. Louis Cardinal and San Diego Padre will likely slot into a corner OF role, though he did play some CF last year and has appeared there in over 200 games in that spot in his career, which will give the Reds some options.
Offensively, he’s been an on-base machine since breaking into the bigs in 2014, sporting a career OBP of .364 in 732 G since. His power hasn’t been what it once was in recent seasons, however, though that may well be chalked up to him having spent the last two seasons hitting in the heavy air and cool breezes of the NL West. Hopefully, a move back to friendlier hitting environments in the NL Central will allow him to turn back that clock just a bit.
A top of the regular lineup of Jonathan India, Joey Votto, Pham, and Tyler Stephenson is something that could have some actual legs, finally.
Welcome to Cincinnati, Tommy.