Sources: Mets, OF Pham agree to 1-yr, $6M deal

    ESPN MLB insider
    Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

Outfielder Tommy Pham and the New York Mets agreed on a one-year, $6 million contract Wednesday, sources told ESPN, continuing the team’s offseason bonanza and pushing the Mets’ record payroll past the $450 million mark.

Pham, 34, could serve as a right-handed complement to Daniel Vogelbach as designated hitter for the Mets. He also played 134 games in the outfield last year for Cincinnati and Boston, hitting .236/.312/.374 with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Pham’s most impactful hit in 2022 might have been with an open hand rather than a bat. In late May, while with the Reds, Pham approached San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson during pregame warmups and slapped him across the head. Pham said he was angry over what he believed was cheating by Pederson in a fantasy football league.

“Joc deserved to be slapped,” Pham said.

Pham was suspended for three games and eventually was traded to Boston, his fifth team in five years. A late bloomer, Pham broke out with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017, hitting .306/.411/.520 and finishing 11th in National League MVP voting. Over his nine-year career, he has a .259/.354/.433 line with 114 home runs.

The Mets, whose winter expenditures are approaching half a billion dollars, will pay a 90% tax on Pham’s deal, which was first reported by SNY and includes a potential $2 million in performance bonuses. The $6 million base salary will cost an additional $5.4 million in taxes because the team’s payroll is over the $293 million competitive-balance-tax threshold nicknamed the “Steve Cohen tax,” after the Mets’ owner. Currently, the payroll is projected to be $364 million with an additional $93 million in taxes.

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