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Why Tommy Pham makes sense for the Blue Jays on a short-term deal

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Photo credit:Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
Tyson Shushkewich
1 month ago
Toronto Blue Jays fans awoke on Sunday morning to the news that Cody Bellinger was heading back to Chicago, inking an $80 million pact over three years that includes multiple player options throughout the deal.
It’s a far cry from the $200 million that Bellinger and his camp were reportedly looking for earlier this winter but he is at least off the board, which can’t be said for some of Scott Boras’s other clients such as Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, J.D. Martinez, and former Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman.
A reunion between the Blue Jays and Chapman does have some validity, especially if both sides can agree on a short-term deal similar to what Bellinger inked with the Cubs. It doesn’t seem like Ross Atkins and co. are ready to commit to a long-term deal for the defensive stalwart and from the outside looking in, it appears the Jays and the San Francisco Giants are pushing the conversation for the third baseman’s services. That can always change in free agency but the Jays stand well compared to other clubs at least in terms of not having to forfeit draft pick compensation after the California product rejected the Blue Jays qualifying offer.

The Blue Jays and Tommy Pham make sense in a short-term deal

While a quick scan of social media has Jays fans on the fence about a Chapman reunion, one free agent that could be of interest to the Blue Jays front office is Tommy Pham, a ten-year veteran of the big leagues who is currently looking for a new home.
A corner outfielder as of late, mostly in left field, Pham split last season between the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks, producing a .256/.328/.446 slash line with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs to the tune of a .774 OPS. He produced a 111 OPS+ and a 1.5 bWAR between both clubs and has seen both the highs and lows of his baseball career since his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2014.
Adding to the intrigue, Bob Nightengale at USA Today reports that Pham has yet to receive a contract offer from any MLB club, with the outfielder continuing to work out in Las Vegas as he waits for his phone to ring for another opportunity. It’s interesting to see that Pham hasn’t generated that much interest in the form of an offer, especially since he has handled left-handed pitchers well over his career (.834 OPS with 111 RBIs). He’s also coming off a postseason run with the Diamondbacks where he went 8 for 19 in the World Series, adding four extra-base hits and two RBIs for Arizona as they fell just short of the win.
For the Blue Jays, the club does boast quite a few right-handers already on the roster but a bat such as Pham’s could be a solid fit for a club that lacks a bonafide fourth outfielder outside of internal options that sport just a handful of outings in the Minor Leagues in the corner outfield spots. While Pham doesn’t blow anybody away with his defensive metrics, his bat coming off the bench against southpaws could be worth a contract alone, especially if he spends time in left field when Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier platoon in centre field based on rest days and pitcher matchups for the veteran Gold Glove winner.
Factor in that veteran players such as Amed Rosario and Gio Urshela have inked one-year deals under $2 million each within the past week, the likelihood that Pham is willing to listen to a deal in that range given the outlook of this past winter and the fact that spring training is already underway is high and benefits the Jays organization from a salary commitment standpoint.
Pham isn’t the only bat the Jays’ front office could look into, as Adam Duvall, Robbie Grossman, and Micheal A. Taylor are still free agents and could be of interest in the same manner as the 35-year-old veteran (short-term, low-salary commitment), but Pham has playoff experience and a bat that fits well into what the Jays need from a bench perspective.
The argument would be where Pham fits in terms of role, as he likely could land a more full-time position elsewhere in the league compared to the Blue Jays, who already have three solid outfielders but could use another bonafide bat off the bench if needed, which may not be of interest to Pham.
Only time will tell if the Jays are looking to add any more players this spring but Tommy Pham might be a player of interest to the organization, especially considering the struggles the Blue Jays had last season with the bats.

Tyson Shushkewich is a contributor at the Blue Jays Nation. He can be followed on X or Instagram at Tyson_MLB or reached via email at Tyson_MLB@hotmail.com

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