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Free Agent Profile: Tommy Pham is back on the market after a big performance in the playoffs for the Diamondbacks

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Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
The Toronto Blue Jays had rumoured interest in adding this slugger ahead of last season’s trade deadline and that might carry into the off-season. 
This is a free agent profile, where we take a look at the players on the open market this winter and whether or not they would be fits for the Blue Jays. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Tommy Pham, who’s a free agent following a big playoff performance with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Tommy Pham’s 2023:

The 35-year-old’s 2023 was his best season in recent times, as the right-handed batting outfielder slashed .256/.328/.446 with 16 homers in 481 plate appearances. The bulk of Pham’s success came with the New York Mets, where he slashed .268/.348/.472 with 10 homers in 264 plate appearances for a 125 wRC+. After he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, he cooled off a decent amount, as he slashed .241/.304/.415 with six homers in 217 plate appearances for a 92 wRC+.
Pham came through for Arizona during their surprising run to the World Series in the fall. He went 17-for-61 all told in the playoffs with three home runs and five runs driven in. During a World Series game in which Pham was 5-for-5, he requested to allow teammate Jace Peterson to pinch hit for him so that he could have his first World Series at-bat.
Overall, his 110 wRC+ and 1.8 fWAR was the highest since 2019, when he slashed .273/.369/.450 with 21 homers in 654 plate appearances for a 123 wRC+ and 3 fWAR with the Tampa Bay Rays. His best season came in 2017 with St. Louis, when he slashed .306/.411/.520 with 23 homers in 530 plate appearances for a 149 wRC+ and 6.3 fWAR. However, it doesn’t appear he’ll have a season like that again.
For Pham’s career, he is slashing .259/.351/.435 with 130 home runs, as well as an 11.6 BB% and 23.6 K% in 3901 plate appearances. His career wRC+ sits at 116, but hasn’t hit that mark since the pandemic hit. Moreover, he’s accumulated 18.5 fWAR in his career, but more than a third of that came in 2017.

Tommy Pham’s contract:

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden has Pham as the 28th-best free agent available and notes that he’s the ideal fourth outfielder on contending teams, of which the Jays are. Bowden predicts that Pham will earn a one-year, $7 million deal, but I’d assume it’ll be closer to $10 million with the season and playoffs that he just had. For reference, Pham inked a one-year, $6 million deal with the Mets last winter following a rough 2022 and should see a decent raise. 
Unfortunately, MLB Trade Rumors only have Pham as an honourable mention, so they don’t have a contract estimate. That site usually tends to predict that the player would get more money than Bowden does.

Is Tommy Pham a fit for the Blue Jays:

If the Jays could get Pham on the contract that Bowden suggests as a fourth outfielder, he is absolutely a fit. While he’s never going to have a 6.8 fWAR season again, there’s still some power in his bat and he showed in the fall that he can come up clutch. 
Defensively, Pham is a mixed bag, depending on the metric you use. In terms of Defensive Runs Saved, he’s accumulated 3 in the 6878.2 innings fielded in the outfield. In terms of Outs Above Average, he has a -20, but it was only -1 in 2023, so that’s progress!
If the Jays add a star outfielder such as Cody Bellinger through free agency or Juan Soto through trade, Pham would be an excellent addition to be the fourth outfielder and right-handed pinch hitter. That said, Pham shouldn’t be the primary left field target for Toronto this winter, he should be viewed as high-quality depth rather than an everyday player.  

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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