After several weeks of rumors linking to the Mets to a variety of 4th outfielder candidates, the team has finally signed one, inking Tommy Pham to a 1-year, $6M contract. The 34-year-old projects to serves as the primary reserve option in the corners, and could also see some time as a right-handed DH option.
Pham has declined quite a bit as he’s entered his mid-30s, posting a cumulative .231/.324/.372 slash line (94 wRC+) over the last three seasons. In that same time frame, his defense has become problematic in the outfield, with OAA metrics pegging him as well below average outfielder even in a corner spot. There’s a leverageable platoon split here - Pham is significantly better against lefties, making him a potential platoon partner for Daniel Vogelbach if Darin Ruf doesn’t bounce back - but it’s not a profile to get excited about. Call it a serviceable option off the bench, if not an inspiring one.
Needless to say, this was probably not the outfielder the front office had in mind. The Mets were linked to Andrew McCutchen, AJ Pollock, and Adam Duvall before all three found different landing spots (Pirates, Mariners, and Red Sox respectively) where they’ll likely have more playing time than they’d have had in New York. Instead, the mercurial Pham - who has a history of “colorful” off the field incidents, including infamously slapping Joc Pederson over a fantasy football disagreement - will serve as the primary backup to a trio of starting outfielders with spotty health track records. Hopefully this signing does not disrupt the clubhouse and the outfield stays relatively healthy; otherwise, the Mets could find themselves trading for one of the names who elected to sign elsewhere at the deadline.