Ahead of Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets manager Buck Showalter addressed comments made by former outfielder Tommy Pham concerning the work ethic of the club's position players.
Pham, who was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the deadline, offered his thoughts to The Athletic's Tim Britton and Will Sammon on what caused the Mets' disappointing season. He claims that at one point this year he told Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor that, "Out of all the teams I played on, this is the least-hardest working group of position players I've ever played with." (Pham also claims Lindor thanked him for reminding him how to work hard.)
Predictably, several Mets players pushed back on Pham's analysis. That group included second baseman Jeff McNeil and outfielder Brandon Nimmo. (Pham told The Athletic that Nimmo, Lindor, and first baseman Pete Alonso were the team leaders, and praised each of them for possessing a good work ethic.)
Showalter, for his part, said the following: "Tommy is entitled to his opinion. What works for one player may not work for another. It's fine. I see the work these guys put in each day."
The Mets' clubhouse dynamic being questioned at this stage of the season should come as no surprise. This is what happens whenever a team underperforms relative to expectations to the degree the Mets did this year. (To wit, the same script is playing out in San Diego with the Padres.) If the Mets had won 101 games, as they did last year with largely the same core of hitters, then none of this would be considered an issue. They didn't, and so autopsies must be conducted and intrinsic failings must be considered.
That's not to say Pham is incorrect; he can speak only from his experience, and if this was his experience with the Mets, then fair enough. It's just important to acknowledge that the Mets' biggest problem was that they didn't win enough.
Pham, 35, batted .268/.348/.472 (124 OPS+) in 79 games with the Mets. Since the trade, he's hit .254/.310/.456 (106 OPS+) in 42 games with the Diamondbacks. He's scheduled to be a free agent at season's end.