Former Mets outfielder signs with MLB's worst team and becomes immediate trade bait

Free agency slapped Tommy Pham around.
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

It’s rough out there for a free agent. Unless you can pitch, you might’ve settled for less than you thought you were getting. Former New York Mets outfielder Tommy Pham has signed a deal to go from the National League pennant Arizona Diamondbacks to the worst team in Major League Baseball, the Chicago White Sox.

This isn’t just any deal either. Pham, now 36, will technically be on a minor league split contract. Like J.D. Martinez, he’ll have an opportunity to ramp up on the farm before the White Sox promote him to the big league roster. He can opt out if not recalled by April 25.

The White Sox could certainly use him already even if he doesn’t feel fully prepared. Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez are all on the IL. Their record now sits at 2-14. They’re a half-game behind the miserable Miami Marlins.

An even more forgettable ex-Mets player got a contract this week, too

In other former Mets signing contract news, Julio Teheran has a minor league deal, too. Coincidentally, he will also look to represent the city of Chicago. The difference is he’ll be aiming to play on the Northside of town with the Chicago Cubs.

After blowing his one chance with the Mets against the Atlanta Braves a little over a week ago, the team immediately designated him for assignment. The short leash was a bit harsh but sent a statement. The Mets aren’t going to tolerate carrying a player around if they can dump him.

A temporary stay in Queens seems to have been for the best. New York turned to Jose Butto who, once again, went six strong and allowed them to pick up a win late on Sunday. The flexibility the Mets have with Butto and his minor league options along with the ability to learn just how good he can be is far more valuable than several mediocre starts out of Teheran.

Pham is expected to join the White Sox sooner than later after what they’re hoping is a short stint in the minors. It’s amazing that someone who did so well with the Mets in a part-time role last year and intensified the Diamondbacks on the way to the World Series would basically become the geek at the carnival. This feels like the plot to Nightmare Alley with one exception: if Pham performs well, he can put himself in a spot as a rare way-too-early trade candidate. He'll get an additional $500K if the White Sox do move him and why wouldn't they?

For Teheran, we already know what happens. He’s up with the Cubs by April 29 when they visit the Mets at Citi Field. His tribute video will be something else.

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