According to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald, the San Francisco Giants have had internal discussions about possibly striking up a deal to bring back Pablo Sandoval. Not much more is known at this point, so nobody knows if the two teams have even talked to each other about this possibility.
Sandoval, the thirty-year-old third baseman, signed a 5-year, $95 million deal with the Red Sox back in 2014 just after winning his third World Series ring with San Francisco. Going into that offseason, Sandoval was a highly regarded option at third base for any team, as he was a true hitter and highly talented with a glove. At the time, Sandoval was a terrific pickup for the Boston club.
The 2015 season with his new team was disastrous for Sandoval. He put up .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI, and didn’t have a particularly great year on defense, either. Many questioned going into the season whether or not Sandoval’s weight would be an issue, and many kicked the weight factor under the fridge. Obviously, his weight was no help in 2015.
Sandoval ended the 2015 season away from the team for much of the final month without being on the disabled list. Many wondered if the team was just fed up with his lack of production and shooed him away from his teammates or he really was injured. Either way, he lost his starting job at Spring Training to Travis Shaw. Sandoval only played a total of seven games and, in April of 2016, had season-ending shoulder surgery.
His value is currently as low as ever, heading into 2017. He’s struggled with his weight in the past, can’t hit, messes up routine plays, and is of course coming off a shoulder surgery and has had previous back issues. Recent pictures posted on social media reveal that Sandoval has lost a significant amount of weight since his abysmal physique was displayed at Spring Training, but who knows what’s true and what isn’t.
Despite the Giants showing interest in Sandoval, Boston may not even want to trade him. One, the Red Sox already have multiple questions at the hot corner. To name a few, their starters differed from Shaw, Aaron Hill, Brock Holt and Yoan Moncada in 2016. Shaw had a rather disappointing 2016 season after a promising second-half of the 2015 season. Hill, a trade-deadline acquisition, was nothing to write home about, not a good hitter per se but got the job done defensively at third. Holt, the utility man, filled in when injuries popped up and did his job. Moncada, the number one prospect in baseball, was called up in early September and had a disastrous experience. So, Dombrowski may not feel comfortable trading away Sandoval, respectively.
Who knows, maybe Dombrowski would be okay with giving both sides a fresh start. Boston has a plethora of young options for third base, but that’s if he trusts them to develop into reliable starters. Sandoval, of course, had all of his success out west in San Francisco. A two time All-Star and three-time World Champ in the Bay Area probably wouldn’t mind heading back home to better days. San Francisco also experienced their own merry-go-round of third baseman late last year, after they traded Matt Duffy and inserted utility man Eduardo Nunez as the starter.
It’s reasonable to see why the Giants would be interested in a reunion. They got seven solid years out of him and obviously had tremendous team success with him there. His contract situation isn’t ideal for either side, as Sandoval is set to make $58 million over the next three years with a 2020 buyout. If Dombrowski is open to eating up that sum, then it’s not crazy to imagine a scenario where both sides come to terms with some sort of deal.
This situation is a great reminder for all that just about anything and everything is discussed at this time of year, especially with a rather quiet market at the moment. It isn’t exactly likely that this trade happens, everything considered. A lot of trade talk is just talk in the end, and San Francisco’s internal discussion may end up just being a discussion. But, I’m no expert, and hey, anything can happen. One thing we know, Red Sox fans will keep both eyes open for the time being. A large majority want Panda gone and are more than willing to pack his bags and chauffeur him to the airport. Only time will tell.