Dodgers May Target $3 Million Trade Deadline ‘Possibility’ to Bolster Outfield

dave roberts

Getty As Dodgers rumors continue to swirl, could L.A. be preparing to make blockbuster moves at the trade deadline?

The Los Angeles Dodgers spent over $1 billion this past winter to make themselves a World Series contender. The 2024 season has included them getting off to a 35-22 start, which has resulted in a 5.5-game lead in the National League West. But as the July 30 trade deadline continues creeping closer, the club has roster needs to fill for the stretch run. Could that include pursuing Chicago White Sox outfielder Tommy Pham?  

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic floated Pham as a possible target to help the Dodgers’ outfield, which is currently struggling.Ideally, at least two of a group of four outfielders — Heyward, Pages, Outman and Miguel Vargas — will emerge as solid contributors,” he said. “Even then, the Dodgers would be wise to explore the market for outfielders, who at the deadline generally are in ample supply. The White Sox’s Tommy Pham, a favorite of some in the organization, would be one possibility.”

Pham’s 2024 season started late because of a prolonged stay on the free-agent market. He hit the ground running upon taking the field with the White Sox. The 36-year-old is hitting .294/.344/.429 with three home runs, seven doubles, 12 RBI and 17 runs scored in 128 plate appearances.

Chicago owns a 15-41 record and will be an obvious trade deadline seller. It’s just a matter of which players general manager Chris Getz wants to trade. Pham will likely draw interest because of his current production and contract status (he signed a one-year, $3 million deal).

Dodgers Could Use a Boost in the Outfield

While Los Angeles spent a bunch of money to improve the roster, the outfield seems like an obvious weak spot for manager Dave Roberts. Dodger outfielders have combined to hit .204/.272/.348 across 226 plate appearances. Their collective 81 wRC+ is the fourth-worst mark in baseball, per FanGraphs.

Teoscar Hernandez has been the most productive hitter. He’s slashing .262/.331/.491 with 12 homers, 38 RBI and 32 runs scored in 237 plate appearances. That’s resulted in a 137 wRC+ and 1.6 fWAR. Outside of him, there isn’t a Dodgers outfielder with 20-plus plate appearances who owns a wRC+ better than 85.

Kike Hernadez (59 wRC+ in 125 plate appearances) and Jason Heyward (47 wRC+ in 42 plate appearances) haven’t been very productive. Perhaps the biggest disappointment thus far is veteran Chris Taylor. He’s hitting just .110/.224/.123 in 86 trips to the plate. His wRC+ is 14 and he’s been worth -0.7 fWAR.

Even if he joined the Dodgers as a fourth outfielder, Pham could be a useful asset for Roberts as he tries to put together the right outfield mix for his club.

Pham Is No Stranger to Midseason Trades

Getting traded in the middle of a season can disrupt a player’s normal routine. But for some, it’s just a part of the game based on their situation.

Pham has been traded during the regular season three times during his 11-year career. The St. Louis Cardinals traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. He went from the Cincinnati Reds to the Boston Red Sox in 2022. Most recently, the New York Mets sent him to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the 2023 trade deadline.

The veteran outfielder is aware of the situation he typically finds himself. Ahead of last year’s trade to Arizona, he told Mike Puma of the New York Post, “As the deadline gets nearer, just make sure you have two bags packed, that is just how things are for me with my contract situation making me tradeable.”

News of Pham signing with the White Sox didn’t become public until April 15. At that point, Chicago was 2-14 and on its way to a 3-20 start to the season. He probably knows he’ll be back on the trade block this summer. But judging from Pham’s past perspective, he’s ready for it.

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