Prior to the start of the 2022 Major League Baseball season, friend of the blog Dan Szymborski and his supercomputer projected that Tommy Pham would hit .246/.346/.397 this year, numbers that were produced in his San Diego Padres projections since that, at the time, was the most recent team for which Pham had played.
Those numbers were updated after he signed with the Cincinnati Reds, however, with Dan, computer, & Co. giving Pham the predictable GABP boost - his revised projections called for a .261/.359/.434 line (.794 OPS), with a .344 wOBA to boot.
At the time of writing this, Pham’s the owner of a .258/.358/.431 line and a .348 wOBA. What I’m saying is that Dan has likely won the lottery twelve times over and you should go ask him for a couple bucks when you see him.
Pham, 34, is on a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds that’s set to pay him $7.5 million, and he’s doing exactly what was to be expected of him while on that deal. At least, he is when he’s on the field and not rectifying fantasy football beefs in ways only he sees fit. And after a winter of mishaps and confounding moves, this appears to be the one made by the Reds front office that actually is looking more and more prescient.
FanGraphs has already credited Pham with 1.5 fWAR, putting him on-pace for a roughly ~4 win season, the kind of thing that makes $7.5 million look like a complete and utter bargain. That the rest of the Reds have tanked beyond fathomable belief can certainly make your eyes roll so far back into your head that you never get around to noticing Pham’s performance to date, but the fact remains he’s been just what he was supposed to be - a good, right-handed outfield bat who’ll get on base and score you some runs.
That’s got value to every team in baseball, and as we begin to hit Trade Season (at the same time that many clubs find themselves knee-deep in Injury Season), I firmly expect to see the vultures circling GABP to see which one can pluck Pham from the Reds roster.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal let fly the first serious semi-rumor of The Season earlier today. I say serious because it involves a) the Los Angeles Dodgers, perhaps the single most ain’t gonna fart around team in the game when it comes to making deals and trying to win games, and b) involves a legitimate injury to Mookie Betts, a player that nary a team in the game can simply replace from within. Here’s Ken, by the way:
With Mookie out, Dodgers looking to acquire RHH OFer at minimal prospect cost to platoon with Eddy Alvarez in right, source says. Could look for bigger piece in trade later or possibly promote Miguel Vargas, a highly regarded 3B prospect who has 10 homers and an .851 OPS at AAA.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 20, 2022
Betts recently hit the IL with a cracked rib, something that - depending on its severity - could keep him sidelined for a good bit. And when it comes to RHH OFers that should, and will be available on the trade market, well, I spent the first 400 words of this damn thing spelling out all there is to think about Tommy Pham.
This is not to say that Pham is the only player of this ilk out there. There are also likely to be other players out there of lesser ilk who could, conceivably, be available by other bottom-feeder clubs as they sell off anything of value. Michael A. Taylor from Kansas City, for instance, or even Trey Mancini from Baltimore fit the bill. Still, Pham’s experience in the NL West and performance so far this season certainly appears to put him on the shortlist for every team out there in search of such a player, and the Dodgers are front and center as the first club up for that need right now.
I mean, if the Dodgers were willing to let a former stalwart OF of theirs like Joc Pederson sign for the San Francisco Giants - their bitter rivals - over the winter, perhaps the only possible way to salt that wound even more would to bring in Pham.