ST. PETERSBURG -- Consistent with how the Rays do business, they made a trade for Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham and international bonus pool money in exchange for three Minor League prospects: outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No. 14 prospect, left-hander Genesis Cabrera (No. 25) and right-hander Roel Ramirez.While Chris Archer
ST. PETERSBURG -- Consistent with how the Rays do business, they made a trade for Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham and international bonus pool money in exchange for three Minor League prospects: outfielder Justin Williams, the Rays' No. 14 prospect, left-hander Genesis Cabrera (No. 25) and right-hander Roel Ramirez.
While Chris Archer had been the focus of trade rumors involving the Rays -- and was dealt to the Pirates before Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. ET Deadline -- the Pham deal seemingly came out of nowhere.
"I woke up to [Cards president John Mozeliak] calling me early this morning with the news, so I was really shocked," Pham told MLB Network Radio. "That's the first thing, you know, you wake up to your boss calling you that you've gotten traded, it's shocking."
Pham is hitting .248 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs.
"It hurts," he said. "More specifically, for me, I've been underperforming from my expectations, and I feel like if I had done my job better, [the Cards] wouldn't be so far down in the standings."
A late bloomer, Pham emerged with both his bat and his glove to break into St. Louis' lineup last season, hitting .306 and slugging .520 with 23 homers. Pham, 30, is making just $570,000 this season and is under team control through 2021. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter. In March, details emerged that Pham rejected the Cardinals' offer of a two-year, $4 million contract extension.
Williams, 22, who came to the Rays in the November 2014 trade that sent Jeremy Hellickson to the D-backs, played in one game for the Rays this season. He was hitting .258 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs for Triple-A Durham.
Cabrera, 21, was 7-6 with a 4.12 ERA in 21 games at Double-A Montgomery while Ramirez, 23, was 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 42 games for Montgomery and Class A Advanced Charlotte.
With Pham out of the mix, the Cardinals have various directions they can now turn to plug the opening in their outfield. Harrison Bader, who is hitting .265/.338/.400 over 83 games, is the best defensive outfielder on the team's 25-man roster. This could also make room for outfielder Tyler O'Neill, who has 26 homers and 61 RBIs in 61 games with Triple-A Memphis. He, too, can play center.
Williams will be part of the outfield mix, as well, though the Cardinals plan to send him to Memphis for now. A second-round Draft pick in 2013, Williams appeared in 94 games for Tampa Bay's Triple-A affiliate this season. He hit .258/.313/.376 as the club's everyday right fielder.
Tampa Bay entered Tuesday 21 games out of the American League East lead and 10 games back of the league's second Wild Card spot, so this would appear to be a move directed more toward the club's future beyond 2018.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.