The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Tommy Pham to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million, according to Bobby Nightengale. The full details on the contract include a six million dollarsalary this year, with a mutual option for next year at $1.5 million.
This seemed to be a head-scratching move by the Reds. Why would they need Tommy Pham? This offseason, they have been doing more subtraction to their roster than adding. Nick Castellanos left in Free Agency followed by a number of trades. Sonny Gray went to the Twins. Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker were shipped to the Mariners. And Amir Garrett was moved to the Royals. This offseason has all the signs pointing to a rebuilding year for the Reds. So why sign a guy like Pham, a 34-year-old outfielder coming off a down year in San Diego?
Tommy Pham’s Point of View
For Pham, it completely makes sense. Coming off a disappointing 2021 season, Pham is taking a one-year deal to re-establish himself as a quality player. The goal would be to gain another multi-year deal after this season. Moving from pitcher-friendly Petco Park in San Diego to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati should be an instant boost to his offensive stats alone. In fact, for his career, he has a slash line of .366/.449/.505 in Cincinnati. Any uptick in his performance will land him a better deal next offseason. But there may be another outcome if he starts out the season strong.
From the Cincinnati side, Pham instantly fills the hole in left by the departure of Castellanos. A one-year deal ensures Pham does not block any young talent that may be ready for the majors in the near future. But what will be beneficial for both Pham and the Reds is using Pham as a potential trade piece.
Pham may interest playoff contenders looking to upgrade their outfield if he starts the 2022 season on a hot streak at the plate. This would bring back a prospect or two from the Reds to help their rebuilding process. It also gets Pham back on a playoff-contending roster with a chance to extend a contract. This is the best-case scenario for the Reds and Pham with this one-year deal.
However, Pham is taking a larger risk. If he plays this season like he did last season, it may be difficult to find another major league contract next year. But for the Reds, this one-year deal keeps the risk on Pham. Pham doesn’t perform, no skin off of their nose for a one-year deal. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for both the Reds and Pham this season.