Outfielder Tommy Pham agrees to one-year, $7.5 million deal with Cincinnati Reds – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Outfielder Tommy Pham agrees to one-year, $7.5 million deal with Cincinnati Reds – The Cincinnati Enquirer
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GOODYEAR, Ariz. – After an offseason filled with subtractions from the Major League roster, the Cincinnati Reds made a powerful addition to their lineup Wednesday. 

The Reds agreed to terms with outfielder Tommy Pham on a one-year, $7.5 million contract with a mutual option for the 2023 season, multiple sources familiar with the negotiations told The Enquirer. The deal has not been announced by the club and is pending a physical, which Pham will take Friday.

He will receive $6 million in 2022 and there is a $1.5 million buyout for the 2023 mutual option, according to sources. 

Pham, a 34-year-old right-handed hitter, spent the last two seasons with the San Diego Padres. He hit .229 last year with 24 doubles, 15 homers, 49 RBI, 74 runs and 14 stolen bases. He had a .340 on-base percentage, which was boosted by a career-high walk rate. He should add speed and power to the top of the Reds’ lineup, slotting into the outfield with Nick Senzel, Tyler Naquin and Jake Fraley.

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Jul 25, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; San Diego Padres San Diego Padres Tommy Pham (28) is congratulated after scoring a run during the second inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

He fills some of the void created by Nick Castellanos’ departure. He immediately bolsters the top of the lineup and he’s traditionally hit well against left-handed pitching, an area where the Reds struggled in 2021. He’s posted a .366/.449/.505 slash line in 101 career at-bats at Great American Ball Park.

Moving from the pitcher-friendly Petco Park in San Diego should help Pham improve his power numbers. He’s a well-disciplined hitter who consistently barrels pitches (65th percentile in MLB last year, according to Statcast) and posts high exit velocities (77th percentile).

Pham told the San Diego Union-Tribune last September that he was willing to sign a one-year contract this offseason to re-establish his value. He was stabbed in the back outside of a San Diego strip club in Oct. 2020, which he said required 200 stitches to close the wound, and affected his strength last season.

“I didn’t play well enough,” Pham told the Union-Tribune last September. “I’ve got to be a more consistent hitter. I’ve got to work on regaining my strength and speed this offseason. I have a lot to work on.”

Jun 29, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Tommy Pham (28) hits a single against the Cincinnati Reds during the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Pham has experience at all three outfield positions, but he’s primarily played left field for the past three seasons. With the designated hitter, the Reds should be able to balance at-bats for their primary outfielders. Naquin and Fraley are both left-handed hitters who excel at facing righties while Pham and Senzel are right-handed hitters. 

If the Reds decide to carry five outfielders with an initial 28-man roster, there will be a competition between Aristides Aquino, Shogo Akiyama, TJ Friedl, Albert Almora Jr. and Trey Amburgey. Max Schrock is another candidate as an infielder with experience in the outfield. 

Pham spent his first five big-league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and he spent one-and-a-half seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. He received National League MVP votes in 2017 after hitting .306 with 22 doubles, 23 homers, 73 RBI and 25 stolen bases.

Following the lockout, the Reds traded Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suárez and Amir Garrett, which created some financial flexibility. The Reds added Mike Minor in the Garrett trade, signed infielder Donovan Solano and reliever Hunter Strickland to Major League contracts and now they’ve made their biggest boost to the lineup this offseason.

The Reds, who finished last year with a payroll of about $130 million, have about a $110 million payroll after agreeing to a deal with Pham.