Pittsburgh Pirates: Another Potential Veteran Free Agent Option
Veteran Tommy Pham is open to playing first base in 2022 which could make him a free agent fit with the Pittsburgh Pirates
With CBA negotiations between MLB owners and the MLBPA expected to begin to pick up intensity this week in an effort to minimize the amount of spring training games that are lost to the lockout, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of baseball will begin to look at needs they still need to address before the season begins. With Yoshi Tsutsugo likely serving as the team’s designated hitter this season that will make first base a need for the Pirates.
Last week we discussed one veteran free agent option for first base. There now appears to be another veteran option on the free agent market for first base in 2022. This option could be long-time NL Central foe Tommy Pham.
While Pham has been an outfielder throughout his eight year MLB career it appears that Pham is open to playing first base this season. When the lockout ends the 33-year-old Pham will be a free agent searching for a new home.
Despite posting a 102 wRC+ and .340 on-base percentage last season, both of which were Pham’s lowest since 2016 outside of the 60-game season in 2020, he still would be able to provide an offensive upgrade to the Pittsburgh Pirates. As we talked about with Moreland, the offensive production from Pirate first basemen in 2021 was so porous that even average offensive production would be an improvement.
For his career Pham owns a .265/.364/.447 slash line to go with a 122 wRC+. His isolated power (ISO) is a strong .182, to go with a 12.5% walk rate. Pham’s walk rate has always been above league average as getting on base has always been his strongest tool. With Pham’s ability to get on base he could help fix both first base for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as well as their need to find a leadoff hitter.
While the report stated that Pham is most interested in playing first base in a potential return to the Tampa Bay Rays it would still be worth Ben Cherington making the phone call. After all, the Pirates have no clear cut answer for left field or right field. These are holes Pham could help fill.
The Pirates could also look to offer Pham a 2-3 year contract which could make them a more enticing landing spot for the veteran. While the odds of Pham playing for the Pirates in 2022 are likely very low, it’s still an intriguing option for the team to consider.
If Pham is indeed open to playing first base he would fill a major hole there. Even if that did not pan out Pham could help fill holes in the corner outfielder spots, in addition to being the team’s leadoff hitter. He would also be a good veteran presence to have around a team with young hitters.