NEW YORK — The Mets have found their fourth outfielder.
The club is in agreement with Tommy Pham on a one-year, $6 million contract pending a physical, according to SNY’s Andy Martino. Outfield depth has been thin all winter and when Jake Mangum went to the Miami Marlins as the player to be named later in the trade for Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham it got even thinner. In recent weeks, the Mets have talked with Andrew McCutchen and Adam Duvall, but McCutchen went back to the Pittsburgh Pirates to reunite with the team that drafted him and Duvall went to the Boston Red Sox where he can receive more playing time.
The 34-year-old Las Vegas native has hit .259 with a .787 OPS and 114 home runs over nine major league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and the Red Sox. His splits against left-handers stand out, especially since the Mets have struggled to hit left-handed pitching and did not receive the production they had hoped for out of Darin Ruf last season. Pham has slashed .376/.392/.450 with a .843 OPS lifetime against lefties.
Pham provides some flexibility in the outfield and at DH against left-handers. The Mets can platoon him with Daniel Vogelbach and ease the pressure off of Francisco Alvarez. The club’s top prospect is expected to contribute at the big league level next season and hits left-handed pitching well, but is also still developing. The Mets don’t want to rush the catcher and they hope to further develop the catching side of his game next season as well, with the club making some personnel changes that could benefit the 21-year-old Venezuelan.
Pham has mostly played left field but has also spent time in center and at DH as well.
An advocate of analytics, Pham has talked about the use of websites like Statcast to improve certain aspects of his game.
However, the outfielder has been the subject of controversy on a handful of occasions. He was stabbed outside of a nightclub in San Diego in 2020 and required surgery. There was an attempt at goading Luke Voit into a fight after a hard slide last season about a month before he somewhat famously slapped San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson before a game. The dispute centered around a fantasy football league the two both participated in that was run by Mike Trout.
Each team does significant due diligence before signing players and the Mets are no different. The club likely had some positive reviews that encouraged them to pursue Pham as a reserve option.