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4 things to know about Tommy Pham, new Red Sox outfielder

Red Sox

Pham had a fascinating career in Major League Baseball.

On Monday, the Red Sox acquired Tommy Pham from the Reds. AP Photo/Jeff Dean

The Red Sox acquired Reds outfielder Tommy Pham on Monday in exchange for a player to be named later.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan announced the news. The Red Sox then sent out a press release announcing the move, noting that Pham is batting .238 this season with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 91 games. According to the team, Pham ranks third among left fielders with seven assists and has had great success against left-handed pitchers.

Here are four things to know about the Red Sox’s fearless new outfielder.

He credits his difficult upbringing with molding his work ethic.

In a fascinating Sports Illustrated article from 2018, Pham opened up about his childhood growing up near Las Vegas. His father was in prison for much of Pham’s life – a talented football player who got caught up in drugs and a criminal lifestyle. Pham eventually stopped visiting him in prison. His mother held various jobs and set a strict schedule for her children that included no downtime and demanded good grades. In one particularly poignant anecdote, Pham said he would practice defense by throwing a baseball off a brick wall and fielding it himself.

When he turned 12, Pham told the Tampa Bay Weather that his mother sat him down for a conversation about statistics, which dictated that since his father was in prison, he was likely to end up there as well.

“So she’s like, ‘what are you going to do about it?'” Pham said.

According to Spotrac, Pham has now earned nearly $24 million playing baseball.

Pham told Sports Illustrated he wouldn’t have wanted an easier childhood because he believes his struggles shaped him as a man and a player.

“I played with a lot of guys who came from well-off upbringings and what I remembered most about them was how sweet they were,” Pham told Sports Illustrated’s Jack Dickey via text message. . “When things got tougher for them, they always crumbled. I think where I’m from has helped me persevere through all my injuries in everything I’ve seen a lot of guys fold.

He has decent speed, power, and patience.

Pham looked like a rising star at different stages of his career, and although he never reached those levels, the 34-year-old had solid seasons as a major leaguer. Baseball Savant still ranks him near the top of the league in outbound speed and field-hit percentage, and he maintains above-average sprint speed, walk percentage, and chase rate. He struggles to break balls (.167 this season) but hits well against fastballs (.277) with seven of his 11 home runs.

In other words, don’t expect Pham to be a star, but he could be a contributor for a team that needs depth.

He suffers from a degenerative eye disease.

When he started out in the Cardinals’ minor league system, Pham struggled at home plate, and the team insisted he get his eyes checked. The results weren’t good: Pham has keratoconus, a rare degenerative eye disease in which the cornea changes from round to conical.

Pham found a solution in 2011, the Tampa Bay Weather reported – a breakthrough procedure involving vitamins and ultraviolet light that stabilized his condition, combined with contacts that gave him 20-15 vision.

It made headlines for a variety of reasons.

At this point, Pham is probably best known for slapping Joc Pederson over a disagreement over fantasy football. Pederson gave an incredibly detailed account of what happened in postgame interviews, describing how he upset Pham by mocking the Padres (Pederson says he was friends with other Padres players in the group chat) and how Pham took what Pederson claims were light-hearted jokes. .

That led to that altercation in May, which resulted in a suspension for Pham.

Pham later called the interaction a “matter of principle” and said he had no regrets.

In April, Pham slammed and offered to fight former teammate Luke Voit for a home plate collision with Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson.

“If Luke wants to fix it, I’m fine with it,” Pham said. “Anything – Muay Thai, whatever. I have a [gym] owner here who will let me use his facility. So, f—’em.

Pham was also stabbed in a fight outside a strip club in 2020. Video later showed a horrific gash all the way down his back, which Pham said needed 200 stitches to close.

Pham can be many things, but he’s definitely not a boring person.


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