Free-agent outfielder Tommy Pham close to minor-league deal with White Sox: Sources

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Tommy Pham, the free-agent outfielder who helped the Arizona Diamondbacks reach the 2023 World Series last season only to be unemployed for the next five months, finally is on the verge of finding a new club.

Pham, the No. 33 player on The Athletic’s top-40 free-agent big board, is close to an agreement with the injury-depleted Chicago White Sox on a minor-league contract, according to sources briefed on the discussions. He will be signing a minor-league deal because he is out of options. This way, the White Sox can start him in the minors without needing to pass him through waivers, and promote him when he is ready.

Since the start of the season, the White Sox have lost designated hitter Eloy Jiménez to a left adductor strain and center fielder Luis Robert Jr. to a right hip flexor strain. Last Tuesday, they took another hit, when third baseman Yoan Moncada suffered a left adductor strain.

Pham, 36, had held out all offseason, waiting for an offer he felt was commensurate with his value. His age appeared to be a principal reason why clubs were reluctant to sign him. Pham’s 1.9 fWAR last season was comparable to those of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2.0), Jorge Soler (1.9) and Teoscar Hernández (1.8), and he reached that number in fewer games than all of them.

Each of those players, however, fared well on the open market, in part because they are younger. Gurriel, 30, signed a three-year, $42 million contact with the Diamondbacks. Soler, 32, received the identical terms from the San Francisco Giants. Hernández, 31, reached a one-year, $23.5 million agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 119 games with the New York Mets and Diamondbacks, Pham batted a combined .256 with 16 home runs and a .774 OPS. His OPS when adjusted for park and league factors was 11 percent above league average. He also hit well in the Diamondbacks’ upset of the Dodgers in the Division Series (1.071 OPS) and their five-game loss to the Texas Rangers in the World Series (1.165).

With Pham expected to come off the board, first baseman Brandon Belt is the only free agent in The Athletic’s top 40 who will still be unsigned. Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski, recently described his former teammate’s situation as “puzzling and upsetting.” Belt turns 36 on April 20.

(Top photo of Pham: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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