MIAMI – Cincinnati Reds general manager Nick Krall called left fielder Tommy Pham one of the hardest workers he has been around in the clubhouse. But with the Reds rebuilding, Krall traded Pham to the Boston Red Sox on Monday night for a player to be named later.
Pham was scratched from the Reds’ lineup minutes before the first pitch Monday in Miami, and he was informed he was traded. He’s eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season, and the Red Sox will pick up his remaining salary from him, about $2.1 million, and a $500,000 trade assignment bonus.
“He was really good, very prepared, took his craft very seriously and worked his butt off,” Krall said. “We really enjoyed having him in the clubhouse. With where we are, this allows us to play one of the younger guys. It allows him a chance to get to the playoffs.”
By rule, the player to be named later, which is typically a lower-level prospect, cannot be someone who is on a club’s 40-man roster or someone who was picked in last month’s draft.
It’s the third trade for the rebuilding Reds since Thursday, sending outfielder Tyler Naquin to the New York Mets and Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners for young prospects.
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After trading Naquin and Pham, the Reds’ outfield consists of Nick Senzel, Jake Fraley and Albert Almora. Krall said Aristides Aquino will be activated from his rehab assignment on Tuesday, and Aquino was the only player Krall mentioned when asked about the team’s starting left fielder for the rest of the season.
“We want to make sure that we’re giving our guys enough plate appearances at the big league level to get experience up here, to get better and continue to improve,” Krall said.
The Reds still have several trade candidates before Tuesday’s deadline. Infielders Brandon Drury and Donovan Solano are eligible to become free agents at the end of the season. Right-hander Tyler Mahle may be the best pitcher available on the trade market after Oakland shipped Frankie Montas to the New York Yankees. Mike Minor and Hunter Strickland are options for playoff contenders searching for pitching depth.
Krall said about trades on the horizon, “Still working, trying to figure out how to make us better.”
Pham hit .238 with 11 doubles, 11 homers, 39 RBI and 57 runs in 91 games this season. He slumped throughout July, which he called the worst month of his career, with a .204 batting average, two doubles, one triple, zero homers and a .255 on-base percentage.
“Nothing but positives to say,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I would imagine (if) you go through the entire clubhouse, it would be the same feedback. I knew that. I’ve known Tommy for a long time. It was great bringing him here and having him part of our culture for what we’re trying to build, even if it was for a short period of time.”
Pham had one of baseball’s most memorable moments in the season after he slapped San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson before a game in May and was suspended for three games. He said he was willing to fight San Diego’s Luke Voit after a slide at the plate, which he thought was a dirty play, left catcher Tyler Stephenson with a concussion.
In the clubhouse, Pham was a well-respected veteran known for his consistent approach and his relentlessness on the bases.
“He had an edge to him,” Reds center fielder Nick Senzel said. “Honestly, he was one of the hardest-working guys in the room. He wanted to win. I learned a lot for him. He’s really baseball smart. I know he gets a bad rep, but I don’t think it’s very well He was good as a clubhouse guy, and we’re going to miss him.”
“He’s a competitor, man,” Reds utility player Matt Reynolds said. “Man, I’ve never seen a guy come in and take as many swings as he did. He was very precise on his swing and the movements he was wanting to feel. He’s a good clubhouse guy. I’m sure people have their opinions about all the stuff that has happened, but as a teammate, he cared.
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It was the third time the 34-year-old Pham was traded in his nine-year career. The Reds signed him as a free agent after they traded Jesse Winker, along with Eugenio Suárez, to the Mariners in March.
He signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract with the Reds during spring training, which includes a $6 million mutual option for the 2023 season and a $1.5 million buyout. He’s received an additional $200,000 through incentives and can earn an additional $800,000 if he exceeds 600 plate appearances.
Pham became an obvious trade candidate after the Reds opened with a 3-22 record as a pending free agent. Still, I have offered a lot of praise for the coaching staff and the team’s talent throughout the year.
“We were down six position players and we didn’t have Castillo and Minor,” Pham said of the Reds’ three-win April. “This team is closed. I said it already. This is a good team. Bad things happened to us early in the year and we put ourselves in a big hole.”