The Padres are in need of an outfielder, can former Friar Tommy Pham fill the current void?
The month is now February, and Spring Training starts in roughly 20 days. Nobody, not even the San Diego Padres themselves, knows who will be playing in left and center field to begin the 2024 season. The only player we know who will be playing in the outfielder is rising star Fernando Tatis Jr.
Tatis Jr. won Platinum Glove in right field last season as he showcased tremendous ability making plays and saving runs. There is no doubt that he can repeat and even exceed his play from last year for the 2024 season. He may even play center field if needed.
El Niño isn’t the issue.
The issue is figuring out who will be roaming the grass alongside him. As of now, Jose Azocar is slated to start in center field due to the lack of major-league talent available. Azocar is the only other outfielder on the current roster. Tucupita Marcano and Matthew Batten can play the corner outfield spots and may get some time out there during the course of Spring Training.
The options are limited in free agency. Padres general manager A.J. Preller and manager Mike Shildt may need promote young talent from the farm leagues in order to fill the roster. The next few weeks are important in trying to improve this roster for the start of the regular season.
Bringing in a veteran player like Tommy Pham could be a possibility.
He has played left field for the Friars before and is one of the few players available in free agency that can fit the Padres price range. Not to mention, Pham has a relationship with Shildt dating back to their time together with the St. Louis Cardinals when Shildt was the manager.
According to Spotrac, Pham has a calculated market value of $8.3 million. To compare, his value is similar to David Peralta, Michael Taylor, Randal Grichuk, and Michael Brantley. That value is clearly above the price range that the Padres would hope to sign someone at. However, they may be forced to exceed their price range to put themselves in the best position to compete.
Pham signed with the New York Mets last offseason but was traded in August to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he helped lead them to a World Series appearance. He had six homers (three in the postseason) with 32 RBIs in 50 games played. Furthermore, he slashed .241/.304/.415 and had an OPS of .720.
In Game 1 of the 2023 World Series, Pham smashed a homer to left field to give the Dbacks a lead against the eventual World Champions.
Tommy Pham – Arizona Diamondbacks (3)* pic.twitter.com/9bRHbexKjD
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) October 28, 2023
Time is running out for the Friars to bring in a proven outfielder as in the next few days and weeks, many of these veterans will be signing 1-2-year deals with clubs needing their services.
The Padres focused on bullpen help all offseason. Now is the time to go after outfielders.
Chris is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is the former Sports Editor for the USDVista newspaper. Chris is also an athlete and is huge fan of San Diego sports. Chris has covered the San Diego Loyal, and contributes regularly about the Padres.