The New York Mets will have Tommy Pham as their fourth outfielder/right-handed DH option to begin the 2022 season. Signed for one season at $6 million, it’s a more than reasonable contract and plan for the ball club.
Pham can step in and play either corner outfield spot for a prolonged period if needed. It’s not something we could say about too many other players within the organization. Khalil Lee certainly doesn’t seem ready.
Now that some dust has settled and more fans are coming to terms with this addition, it’s time to reasonably look at the good and the bad of what he can offer the Mets.
The good Tommy Pham offers the Mets in 2023
Along with being a fully capable starter, Pham actually brings some pretty good power to the field. It’s nothing great. It’s also on the decline from his earlier days. He hit 17 home runs last year with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox. The .374 slugging percentage is nothing to phone home about. His 23 doubles and 17 home runs in 622 plate appearances is good enough for the role he’ll play.
What the Mets needed was a little more security in the outfield. Their best option before the Pham signing was moving Jeff McNeil to a corner spot and starting Luis Guillorme. The Mets would be a bit more hamstrung when facing a lefty starter, particularly with Daniel Vogelbach on the bench.
The best thing Pham has to offer is his right-handed bat. A .273/.338/.446 hitter against southpaws last year shows us he’s actually a pretty good option to play alongside Vogelbach. He’s certainly worth a look over Darin Ruf.
The bad Tommy Pham offers the Mets in 2023
Pham isn’t going to win a Gold Glove and for as good as he was against lefties, he wasn’t very good against righties. Pham slashed .224/.303/.349 against them. In times when they may not be able to prevent him from facing a right-handed pitcher, it seems the odds are stacked against him.
The most well-known moment of Pham’s career came last season when he slapped Joc Pederson over a fantasy football dispute. Is it such a bad thing? If Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil were able to get over their dispute from back in 2021, Pham shouldn’t have any problem getting along fine in the Mets locker room. There’s a potential for some “danger” there but mostly an assumption to even think he’ll have a problem.
Clearly on the downswing of his career, a concern could be seeing him struggle more with less playing time. It’s not unusual for a player to go from being in the lineup every day to becoming a part-timer and decline further. The Mets will be able to find at-bats for him regularly, however, many could come as a pinch-hitter for Vogelbach when a lefty is summoned from the bullpen. How will Pham handle those situations he hasn’t been in often?
Staying warm and ready will be important for Pham in a new big league role.