Rays Bolster Outfield, Acquire Pham From Cardinals
Everyone expected the Tampa Bay Rays to be busy leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. Wilson Ramos, Carlos Gomez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Sergio Romo, and Chris Archer all had high probability of being dealt.
Archer and Ramos were eventually moved to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia respectively, but prior to pulling the string on those deals the Rays played the role of buyer.
In a move that surprised most of the baseball world, the Rays shipped Justin Williams, Genesis Cabrera, and Roel Ramirez to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Tommy Pham and $500K of international slot money.
Pham, 30, is batting .248/.331/.399 (730 OPS) spanning 396 plate appearances with 14 homers and 10 stolen bases. It’s been a down year for Pham who last season slashed .306/.411/.520 (934 OPS) with 23 home runs, 73 RBI and 25 stolen bases. The Rays see some underlying numbers that suggest that his performance is more similar to last years than meets the eye.
Jeff Passan (Twitter) notes that Pham consistently hits the ball harder than most other players. This season he ranks ninth with an average exit velocity of 92.7 miles per hour. He’s also has made 43 batted ball outs with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph (Ryan M. Spaeder Twitter).
Pham Admits Trade Hurt Him:
Pham spoke to Casey Stern of MLB Network Radio and said of the trade, “It Hurts, more specifically, for me, I’ve been under performing from my expectations, and I feel like if I had done my job better, we wouldn’t be so far down in the standings.”
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) July 31, 2018
The Rays minor league system is one of the better systems in baseball, but it is bereft of right handed hitting outfielders at the upper levels. The acquisition of Pham bolsters the major league roster while providing an asset that isn’t in the system.
Tommy Pham is heading to Tampa.
— Rotoworld (@rotoworld) July 31, 2018
Justin Williams is just 22 and has spent the entire season with Triple-A Durham aside from a one-day stint with the Rays. With the Bulls the outfielder was batting .258/.313/.376 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 94 games for the Bulls and was named to the International League mid-season All-Star Team. He was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 14 prospect in the organization.
Genesis Cabrera is just 21 years old and is holding his won with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits. He is 7-6 with a 4.12 ERA (113.2-IP, 52-ER) and 124 strikeouts in 21 appearances (20 starts). Also, he was named to the Southern League mid-season All-Star Team. He was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 25 prospect in the organization.
Ramirez, 23, is 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA (53.1-IP, 15-ER) in 34 apps (1 start) between Class-A Charlotte and Montgomery. Over six minor league seasons, he is 26-21 with a 3.85 ERA (376.1-IP, 161-ER) in 124 apps (45 starts).