Padres outfielder Tommy Pham underwent surgery to repair a a tear of the triangular fibrocartilage complex in his left wrist at some point in the past couple of months, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. The specific timing of the procedure remains unclear. The Padres did not announce the surgery at the time it was performed.
Pham, according to Rosenthal, is already lifting weights but has yet to swing a bat since undergoing this latest surgery. He had surgery on the same wrist back in August after suffering a fractured hamate bone when he was hit by a pitch, and he also underwent surgery after a frightening incident in early October wherein Pham was stabbed in the lower back. The Padres announced at the time that Pham was in “good condition” following that surgery, and Pham now tells Rosenthal that this latest wrist procedure has improved his grip strength.
A third surgery and, more importantly, Pham’s recovery from said procedure are all the more noteworthy given that the 32-year-old outfielder is up for arbitration for the final time this offseason. The Padres have until tomorrow evening to determine whether they’ll tender a contract to Pham, whom they acquired alongside Jake Cronenworth last winter in a trade that sent Hunter Renfroe, top prospect Xavier Edwards and minor league infielder Esteban Quiroz to the Rays.
Pham struggled to the worst performance of his career in San Diego, slashing just .211/.312/.312 through 125 plate appearances. Of course, if the current wrist issue was bothering him during the season and impacting his grip strength, that would of course explain the downturn at the plate — at least to some extent. Pham’s track record is quite strong — evidenced by a .284/.381/.475 slash in 410 games from 2017-19 — and a healthy Pham would make for an appealing bounceback candidate.
However, that same track record calls Pham’s future with the Padres into question, as it’s also the reason that he earned $7.9MM in arbitration this past season. Pham could see a nominal uptick from that rate in the arb process, and he would at least be a candidate to simply repeat that salary in 2021. Given the uncertainty surrounding his health, however, he stands out as a potential non-tender candidate prior. If the Padres don’t plan to tender a contract to Pham, then they’ve likely already been shopping him in recent days and will continue to do so in the hours leading up to tomorrow night’s deadline.