It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox’s outfield could use an upgrade — specifically someone who has a little pop in his bat.
As currently constructed, the Red Sox have Alex Verdugo, Kiké Hernández, Japanese newcomer Masataka Yoshida and Jarren Duran as outfield options on their 40-man roster.
That said, one veteran could be contemplating a reunion with the Red Sox — corner outfielder Tommy Pham.
While Pham didn’t quite sign on the dotted line, there are many reasons to believe that he has a genuine interest in returning to Boston next season.
For starters, if Pham had any bad blood from the Red Sox declining his lucrative one-year, $12 million club option, he would not be sporting them on his chest as he deadlifts 405 pounds for reps.
The 34-year-old slugger tried to get a deal done with the Red Sox last offseason before eventually agreeing to terms with the Cincinnati Reds.
When Pham found out he was being shipped off to Boston at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, he had a comical reaction that revealed his prior interest in calling Fenway Park home.
“I was like, ‘damn it, Chaim. We could have done this about (four) months ago,’” Pham told the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier in August. “But I’m glad I’m here.”
Pham hit .236 with 41 extra-base hits including 17 home runs, 63 RBIs and a .686 OPS in 144 games between the Reds and Red Sox last season.
He’s not going to provide a massive boost to the lineup, and likely won’t even reach league-average offensive numbers, but his power could aid a light-hitting outfield.
The only outfielder on the 2023 40-man roster to hit 17 home runs last season was Yoshida, and that was in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
Pham leaves much to be desired defensively, but he could be a depth option that should come relatively cheap.
The journeyman would fit into Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s plan to fill the roster with veteran bridge players on short-term contracts such as Justin Turner, Chris Martin, Kenley Jansen and Corey Kluber.
Pham’s return would not ignite the fan base, but he could aid a relatively powerless outfield group.