For many teams, it is too early to determine whether they will be sellers or not. That is not the case for the Cincinnati Reds as they have generated a 12-28 record to start the season. They will be selling and one position player might make a lot of sense for the SF Giants.
Outfield trade candidate that makes a lot of sense for the SF Giants
Tommy Pham signed a one-year, $6 million pact with the Reds just 10 days before the start of the regular season. Given the contract terms, it was likely that the Reds saw Pham as a tradeable asset, meaning that he would likely not remain in Cincinnati for long.
The right-handed-hitting outfielder makes some sense for San Francisco. After all, the Giants have posted a 113 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, which ranks as eighth-best in baseball. However, they have recorded a 108 wRC+ against southpaws, which is closer to the middle of the pack.
This is not a bad benchmark for the Giants, but there is room for improvement and this is where Pham comes into play. On a different note, the Giants have dealt with injuries all season that has positioned some hitters in suboptimal roles.
For example, San Francisco trotted out a lineup against lefty starter Sean Manaea on Friday night that included three left-handed bats in Tommy La Stella, Brandon Crawford, and Luis González. Given Crawford's glove, he is going to be in the lineup regardless of what type of pitcher is on the mound.
There is an opportunity to better optimize these matchups. Pham is slashing .226/.335/.353 (89 OPS+) with four home runs, 12 RBI, and 21 runs in 155 plate appearances. Plate discipline has always been a strength of the right-handed bat as he has posted a 14.2 percent walk rate against a 23.9 percent strikeout rate. This includes a 24.8 percent O-Swing rate, meaning that he swings at pitches outside of the strike zone in about one in four non-strikes.
On paper, Pham's approach at the plate aligns well with the Giants' hitting philosophy. He would also be a nice fit in terms of leveraging matchups. The 34-year-old outfielder is not a platoon hitter by any means. He has generally been effective regardless of what arm the pitcher throws with.
That said, Pham has posted a .283/.371/.489 line (133 wRC+) against lefties compared to a .259/.348/.441 line (116 wRC+) against righties throughout his nine-year career. The Giants could use him in the lineup against left-handed pitching and against most righties.
San Francisco's depth has been tested this year as the injuries continue to pile up with LaMonte Wade Jr. (knee contusion), Curt Casali (concussion), and Brandon Belt (knee inflammation) hitting the shelf this weekend. The front office is not the type to make a reactionary move, but it seems like the lineup needs a little extra offense.
The addition of Pham would check off several boxes at a cost that is not likely to be prohibitive in terms of prospect capital, especially as the Reds have been looking at ways to trim payroll. At 22-18, the Giants will likely be active on the trade front over the next couple of months. Teams are still figuring out what their identity is, but the Reds will be in sell mode soon enough.