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SF Giants: Is Padres Non-Tender Candidate Tommy Pham a Fit?

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Tommy Pham #28 of the San Diego Padres at bat against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 26, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Tommy Pham #28 of the San Diego Padres at bat against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 26, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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The SF Giants will have a handful of holes to fill this offseason, and there are a number of non-tender candidates who could meet those needs.

In the days to come, we’ll be taking a look at several non-tender candidates who could be a fit for the SF Giants if they do, in fact, hit the open market.

First up, we need to identify the team’s areas of need this offseason.

In a perfect world, the front office would add the following to the roster before Opening Day arrives:

  • Left-handed bat
  • Starting pitching depth
  • Veteran relievers

Tommy Pham is the only potential non-tender candidate for the San Diego Padres as his arbitration price is projected to sit between $7.9 – $8.1 million. While he does not fit any of the above categories, he may be a compelling enough player to warrant interest anyway.

SF Giants Potential Target: Tommy Pham

Admittedly, Pham fits none of the needs listed above. However, the right-handed bat could hit the market after posting a .211/.312/.312 line (74 OPS+) with three home runs and 12 RBI while being worth -0.2 WAR.

The former 16th-round pick sustained a broken hand that caused him to miss a large portion of the season. On top of this, he was stabbed following an altercation in October but was said to be in “good condition” after the incident.

The question remains, do the Padres choose to retain him given the current economic climate in baseball? If you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, it is risky to invest around $8 million on one player given that he struggled to produce last season.

Despite the rough results in 2020, Pham has been an above-average hitter throughout his career. In seven seasons, the right-handed bat has slashed a .273/.369/.463 line (124 OPS+) with 82 home runs and 251 RBI. Furthermore, he boasts a 12.2 percent walk rate against a 23.3 percent strikeout rate, so he possesses the type of patience and plate discipline that the Giants target.

In addition to plate discipline and patience, when Pham (to quote Mike Krukow) gets “both cheeks” into a swing, he can really do some damage:

On top of this, he has not demonstrated extreme platoon splits (.809 OPS against RHP, .895 OPS against LHP), so he would be an everyday starter.

In the field, Pham has experience at all three outfield positions. However, he has been worth -4 DRS and -0.9 UZR as a center fielder, so he is better suited for a corner outfield spot where the metrics have more favorable reviews of his work.

The current Giants corner outfield alignment consists of Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater, and Mike Yastrzemski. That seems like a full outfield, but there is always room for one more, especially considering that both Dickerson and Slater have extensive injury histories.

The Giants need outfield depth, and it goes without saying that Pham’s presence would represent more than just depth. He would slide into a key outfield role with the Giants.

However, we have to return to the same question: Would the Padres consider non-tendering the veteran outfielder? The arbitration process is good for allowing players to get paid closer to their market value, but it is really a “what have you done for me lately” exercise.

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Given that he underperformed while battling a broken hand, Tommy Pham is not a lock to be tendered by the Padres. If San Diego indeed lets him hit the open market, the SF Giants could see him as an ideal target to provide a flexible outfield bat.

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