Tommy Pham was traded to the San Diego Padres from the Tampa Bay Rays two offseasons ago in a deal that involved Hunter Renfroe and Xavier Edwards. At the time, it seemed like a pretty good deal because Pham had hit over 20 home runs in the last two seasons and was making an impact at the top of the Rays lineup.
However, the only reason now that the Padres like the deal they made was because Jake Cronenworth was included. Cronenworth was supposed to be a utility player at the end of the bench last season but has developed into one of San Diego’s best players, reaching the All-Star Game this past summer.
Going back to Pham, though, he will be a free agent at season’s end after two disappointing seasons in San Diego. In 2020, he only played 31 games in a 60 game season, which gave way for Jurickson Profar to get additional playing time in left field. Pham’s been healthy this season but is batting .230 with less than 50 RBI.
It will be interesting to see how hard the Padres go after Pham in free agency considering that they have Profar on the bench and there are other options (such as Michael Conforto and Starling Marte) in the free agent market who provide more power.
Pham talked with Annie Heilbrunn of the San Diego Union Tribune this past weekend about his future. He admitted that he hasn’t played well enough in his first two years in San Diego.
With that said, the 33-year-old expressed interest in returning to the team. “I wouldn’t rule it out. I like it here. I like my teammates here,” Pham told Heilbrunn when asked if he wants to return to the Padres. “I didn’t have a season I was expecting so I’m fully prepared to take a one-year deal and re-establish my market.”
Accepting a one-year deal could be the only way that Pham is wearing the brown and gold next season because the Padres probably aren’t going to be sold on giving him a multi-year contract based off of his production (or lack thereof) in a Padres uniform.
Plus, there is a much better class of free agent outfielders after the 2022 season compared to this coming offseason. Byron Buxton, Aaron Judge, Kevin Kiermaier, Kyle Schwarber, David Peralta, Adam Duvall, and Mitch Haniger are all scheduled to be free agents after next season.
Pham isn’t the first order of business that the Padres will need to address this offseason but it’s still going to be interesting to see if Pham returns to San Diego.