On Monday, the Cardinals renewed the contract of outfielder Tommy Pham, assigning him a salary of $570,000 for the 2018 season. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, the Cardinals actually offered Pham a two-year contract, but the soon-to-be 30-year-old refused the deal as he felt like the Cardinals didn’t show appreciation for the year he just had.
Pham hit .306/.411/.520 with 23 home runs, 73 RBI, 95 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases in 530 plate appearances. Defensive metrics also graded him highly, giving him a total of 6.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. He ranked 10th across baseball in WAR, tied with Mookie Betts. Indeed, that is a very strong season.
For players not yet eligible for arbitration, teams can decide those players’ salaries for the upcoming season if they can’t come to an agreement. That is known as “renewing” a contract. Once a player is eligible for arbitration, the player and his team argue their case in front of arbitrators if they can’t come to an agreement. Pham will be eligible for arbitration after this season and can become a free agent after the 2021 season.
In rejecting the Cardinals’ two-year offer, Pham says he’s betting on himself. He said, “I know what numbers I need to put up, to reach, whatever I’m willing to reach. I’m from Vegas. I’m a betting individual.” Pham said the Cardinals’ offer wasn’t “strong enough.”
In January, Pham said his goal for the 2018 season is to become a 30-30 (home runs and stolen bases) player. There have only been six 30-30 seasons dating back to 2010, with four coming in 2011, two in 2012, and none since. Pham, who made his season debut on May 5, was seven home runs and five stolen bases short of accomplishing the feat last year.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.
One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.
Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.
Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.
Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.