Why this veteran outfielder should still be on the Phillies' trade deadline radar

Tommy Pham has an opportunity after signing a minor league deal with the White Sox, and the Phillies should consider him a trade deadline target.
World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two
World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Tommy Pham, who remained a free agent into the 2024 regular season, agreed to a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox on April 15. Chicago is dealing with a few injuries to position players early in the year.

Designated hitter/outfielder Eloy Jiménez went on the IL at the beginning of April with a left adductor strain but recently returned. Outfielder Luis Robert Jr will be out for up to six weeks following a right hip flexor strain he sustained on April 5. Infielder Yoán Moncada will be out for months, possibly returning after the All-Star break.

Pham will be in the minors getting at-bats until he is ready to contribute regularly to the White Sox. Earlier this week, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal spoke about the signing on the Foul Territory podcast with hosts Scott Braun, A.J. Pierzynski and Erik Kratz.

According to Rosenthal, Pham, "believed he was worth a certain amount of money." Last year with the New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks, the 36-year-old had a .256/.328/.446 line with an OPS of .774 in 129 games.

The veteran outfielder had a solid playoff for the Diamondbacks on the club's run to the World Series. He posted a .279/.297/.475 line and a .772 OPS in 16 contests. He scored 10 runs, had three doubles, three home runs and four RBI.

The 36-year-old, "had a better season than some free agents who signed for a lot more," said Rosenthal, who also believes that Pham didn't receive the contract he desired, most likely due to his age.

Pham agreed to a deal with the White Sox expected to be worth $3 million with another $1.5 million in performance bonuses. The native of Las Vegas, Nevada, will also receive a $500,000 bonus if traded during the season. He is a candidate to be dealt by the trade deadline to a club looking to make a push for the playoffs.

Why Pham should remain on the Phillies' trade deadline radar

Pham should remain on the Philadelphia Phillies' trade deadline radar because their depth at the position group is not the strongest offensively. Brandon Marsh has performed as the team's best option at the plate three weeks into the regular season. He should be an everyday player but manager Rob Thomson has not always played him as such.

Veteran Nick Castellanos and youngster Johan Rojas have had their difficulties hitting during the early portion of the year. Castellanos, who's still searching for answers, according to CBS News Philadelphia's Jeff Kerr, has a .177/.244/.203 line with an OPS of .447. Rojas has a slash line of .264/.328/.302 and a .630 OPS. Backup outfielder Whit Merrifield has also not done well at the plate. The utility player has a .129/.182/.226 line with a .408 OPS.

Philadelphia could benefit from acquiring more outfield depth by the trade deadline, especially if their current outfielders continue to struggle offensively or miss time with injuries. Pham is still committed to playing every day, and he can do so despite his age.

Considering how poorly three of their outfielders have performed at the plate through the first month of the regular season, Pham could help the Phillies if they were to acquire him before the deadline. Rosenthal mentions how his former teammates with the Mets and Diamondbacks thought highly of him as a positive locker-room presence.

He has proven success during the postseason and would be motivated to join a team such as Philadelphia that is capable of winning a World Series in 2024. It's difficult to see how much worse Pham could be offensively than Castellanos, Rojas, and Merrifield have been so far for the Phillies three weeks into the season. Even if the struggling trio turns it around on offense, acquiring Pham would improve the team's depth as they aim to win a championship.