Now former Rays outfielder Tommy Pham didn’t like everything about playing in Tampa Bay, evidenced his his occasional complaints about the lack of attendance.
But he liked it enough to be disappointed about leaving as the Rays traded him Friday to the Padres as part of a five-player deal.
"I’m a little sad to go,'' Pham told the Tampa Bay Times via text message. "I enjoyed my time as a Ray. My teammates helped me open up and have fun as a professional. I’m gonna miss going to battle with that group of guys. They are young and talented. I was surprised to get a text message and call a couple days ago from (GM Erik Neander) about trading me. He said several teams were on me but he did it out of respect for me and I respect him more for that.
"But I thought I was gonna be a Ray in 2020. I thought I was going to help them win a World Series. Now it’s just gonna probably happen for me as a Padre but I do envision the Rays getting there too!.''
Pham was acquired by the Rays on July 31, 2018, from St. Louis, and a had a productive 1 1/3 seasons with the Rays. In 2019 he hit .273 with a .369 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage along with 33 doubles, 21 home runs, 68 RBI and 25 stolen bases last season. He led the team in at-bats, hits, doubles, stolen bases and OBP.
He also ranked among AL leaders in walks (81, seventh) and stolen bases (fifth). He reached at least 20 homers and 20 steals for the second time in his career (2017 with the Cardinals), joining B.J. Upton (2007, 2011, 2012) as the only players in Rays history to reach those marks in the same season. Pham was one of nine players in the majors to reach the 20-20 mark in 2019.
He also was a key player for the Rays in the community, getting involved with several initiatives and programs.