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The Padres’ near constant game of outfield musical chairs continues.
The Padres have a deal in place to acquire outfielder Tommy Pham and an infield prospect from the Rays in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and minor-league shortstop Xavier Edwards. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that a deal was close, while the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee and USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale added details:
The #Rays are in serious discussions with the #Padres on a trade that would send outfielder Tommy Pham and a prospect to San Diego for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Class A shortstop Xavier Edwards, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2019
Padres to acquire Tommy Pham, send Renfroe to Tampa Bay in swap of outfielders https://t.co/PGnqQouHa9
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) December 6, 2019
The players have been informed of the #Padres-#Rays trade, but it won’t be announced and become official until all of the physicals are completed on Friday.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 6, 2019
While you could probably make a decent argument that Renfroe is the most valuable player in this trade, San Diego clearly has a burning desire to seriously compete for the NL West title in 2020 and is opting to sacrifice Renfroe’s slightly higher upside in order to add Pham, a veteran with a more impressive track record. Pham had his second straight near-4.0 WAR season in 2019 after an arguably-MVP-caliber 2017 campaign with the Cardinals. He posted a .273/.369/.450 slash line with 21 homers, 25 steals, and one defensive run saved in left field. With that said, there are reasons to be concerned about Pham’s outlook, even in the near future. Despite the fact that he’s only been a big-league regular for a few seasons, he’ll be 32 years old next spring. He’s historically been rather injury-prone — that’s a large part of the reason he didn’t have his breakout season until he was 29 — and though he avoided the injured list in 2019, he dealt with hand, elbow, and leg injuries and started 21 games at DH. Pham also deals with keratoconus, a degenerative eye condition that makes his plate vision (and more importantly his sight in general) an ongoing concern. And while Pham has shown himself to be an extremely caring, charitable individual, it’s easy to see why he might not exactly be beloved by Rays fans, considering his statement last offseason that the Rays have “really no fan base at all” and should think about relocating — an opinion he later doubled down on.