As you’d expect, the Dodgers are in the middle of the biggest rumors around the league, including the biggest of them all revolving around Giancarlo Stanton. While the Stanton rumors generate all the headlines, could there be another player that we’re not talking about joining the Dodgers this offseason?
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are looking to make moves to free up some space in their crowded outfield. The Cardinals currently have seven outfielders on their 40-man roster, and five must be protected by the Rule 5 draft. With Dexter Fowler, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk, and Jose Martinez taking time at the big leagues, the team needs to trade one of them. Which means, the Dodgers would be calling.
In his article, Goold indicated that the Dodgers pursued a deal for Tommy Pham this past summer before the Cardinals ultimately elected to keep him. Pham went on to have his most productive season hitting over .300 and slugging 23 home runs along with swiping 25 bags.
Pham is a 29-year old right-hander and still has one more season before becoming arbitration eligible. Pham fits the profile of what the Dodgers would be looking to add by acquiring a young, affordable, versatile player to their already stacked roster.
Tommy Pham would slot perfectly in left-field and add depth to Dave Roberts’ lineup. Whether Roberts elects to keep Chris Taylor at leadoff or slide him down to the number 5 hole, Pham’s unique power and speed combination make this lineup all that deeper.
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Pham hit right-handed pitching just as well as left-handed pitching last season, with a .310 batting average against righties and .292 average versus lefties. Pham was a much better hitter on the road, hitting nearly 80 points higher away from Bush Stadium [.340 (H) vs. .265 (R)]. He was a model of consistency all season long, hitting over .265 in each month while hitting over four home runs in every month.
Pham played 86 games in left, 34 in center, and 1 in right. He’s spent most of his time hitting second in the Cards lineup, but he was spread out throughout the order. What I was impressed by most of Pham’s season was his production when hitting with runners in scoring position.
Pham hit .305 with four home runs and 41 RBI in just over 100 at-bats. To put those numbers into perspective, Justin Turner hit .300 with three home runs and 42 RBI with RISP. Pham had a WAR rating of 5.9 according to FanGraphs. That ranked 10th best in the league and was a better rating than Corey Seager’s 5.7 rating.
Now with all that being said about how great Pham was last season, why would the Cards consider trading him? Well for the reasons I outlined above.
They have 14 outfielders in their farm system and only have three major league spots. They just signed Fowler to a five-year deal worth $82.5 million, and his contract also includes a no-trade clause. Jose Martinez is a young player they are very high on, and they have three outfielders prospects ranked in their top 10 (Harrison Bader, Magneuris Sierra, & Randy Arozarena).
Now I would have to point out that the Cardinals have also been in on the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes. I’m just not sure that’s Mike Girsch’s style of running the team. The Cardinals certainly have enough prospects to make a deal; the issue would be whether Stanton approves the trade.
The chances of Tommy Pham wearing Dodger blue could be a longshot. But the fact that the Dodgers checked in on him last summer and given the Cardinals surplus of outfielders makes a deal feasible. I would not close the book on a potential three-team trade that sends Stanton to the Cards and Pham and some other prospects to LA. That would give the Dodgers a viable MLB player while not assuming the contract of Stanton. The offseason is a wild time, anything can happen.