According to a major league source, the Red Sox informed outfielder Tommy Pham that they were declining the team side of a $12 million mutual option for the 2023 season. Pham will instead receive a $1.5 million buyout and become a free agent.
The Sox acquired Pham from the Reds at the trade deadline in exchange for a player to be named (subsequently identified as corner infielder Nick Northcut). Pham, 34, hit .234/.298/.374 with six homers in 53 games for the Sox.
Pham has a rare eye condition called keratoconus and dealt with vision clarity issues last season, which he said affected his production. He said the condition is under control, producing confidence that he can have a bounce-back season in 2023.
Pham was acquired via trade from the Reds at the deadline last season. The outfielder had his moments in Boston but spiraled toward the end of the year, finishing the season in an 0-for-18 funk.
Season to window shop
With 131 players arriving at free agency on Sunday and nine more (including Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa, both of whom exercised their opt-outs) doing so Monday, the Red Sox have begun reaching out to players and their agents about potential fits in Boston.
While teams are not allowed to start discussing contract terms with players who finished the season in another organization until Thursday, the Sox didn’t want to wait to make clear their intended pursuits.
“Obviously we can’t get too deep in discussions with them yet,” said Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. “But we feel it’s important with the guys that we do see as perfectly good fits to let them know that. So we did.”
Casas stays home
First baseman Triston Casas, who was sidelined with knee soreness after three games with the Licey Tigers, is not expected to return to play in the Dominican Winter League.
Casas had been sent to winter ball with the idea of making up some of the playing time he lost while sidelined for two months while with Triple A Worcester due to a high ankle sprain, but his downtime had reached a point where a return to winter ball no longer made sense.
“He came back home, we looked at the knee, and we are
n’t concerned. But just given that the soreness was still lingering, given what’s ahead of him, hopefully big things in 2023, he ended up going back to Florida,” said Bloom. “At this point, we don’t expect him to go back to [Licey].”
Time to vote
The Hall of Fame Contemporary Era Committee announced eight candidates, with Curt Schilling among them. However, Dwight Evans was left off the list.
Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro are on the ballot for the committee, which meets Dec. 4 in San Diego.
Schilling, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, and Dale Murphy are also are on the ballot announced Monday for the 16-member committee, which considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on.
A candidate needs 75 percent to be elected and anyone who does will be inducted on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote, announced Jan. 24.
Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their 10th and final appearances on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66 percent), Clemens 257 (65.2 percent), and Schilling 231 (58.6 percent).
Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.
The omission of Evans could come as a surprise. He had the highest vote total (8/16) of any Modern Era Committee candidate who went unelected in 2019 (when 10 candidates were up for consideration by the 16-member panel).
Feeling a draft
MLB announced plans for its first draft lottery, which will determine the order of the first six selections in next year’s draft. The 18 teams that did not make the postseason will all have a shot at the top six picks, with odds weighted in inverse order of team records. The Nationals, A’s, and Pirates will all have a 16.5 percent shot at the top pick, while the Sox (based on their 78-84 mark) will have a 0.8 percent crack atfirst choice . The lottery will take place at the Winter Meetings on Dec. 6 . . . The Red Sox — who did not renew the contract of senior hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce after the 2022 season — have hired Jason Ochart as their minor league director of hitting development and program design. Ochart, the director of hitting at Driveline, had been the Phillies’ hitting coordinator for the last four years.
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