Posted on November 26, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
There’s little doubt Pablo Sandoval joining the Boston Red Sox has been one of the worst free agent signings in recent memory. He was a huge disappointment in 2015 and then was limited to just six at bats in 2016 because of a shoulder injury. However, he had plenty of productive seasons with the San Francisco Giants and is still young enough to get things turned around, which is why the Giants have reportedly considered a reunion with Sandoval, a scenario the Red Sox may be open to as well.
Recent reports out of Boston indicate that the Giants have at least discussed internally the possibility of trying to re-aquire Sandoval, who left San Francisco on the heels of a World Series title in 2014. The Giants currently have Eduardo Nunez lined up to play third base in 2017, but Nunez can easily move into a utility role, backing up all the infield positions except first base and possibly playing the outfield as well. This would make it easy to bring Sandoval back into the fold.
Of course, the Giants may also have to consider top prospect Christian Arroyo, who may fit best at third base in the long term and could be ready for the majors during the second half of 2017. Sandoval has at least three years left on his contract, and they certainly won’t be able to block Arroyo for that long. However, if Sandoval were to return to San Francisco and return to performing like his old self, the Giants could find another home for Arroyo or move Sandoval to first base after the 2017 season when Brandon Belt becomes a free agent.
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From this standpoint, the only thing that could get in the way of the Giants trying to re-aquire Sandoval is the money on his contract. A trade involving Sandoval going to the Giants would require the Red Sox to pay a considerable amount of the money left on his contract. The only question is whether how much money the Red Sox are willing to eat to free themselves of Sandoval.
Remember, current Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was not around when the team signed Sandoval, so he may be more willing to part with him and take the monetary hit. “Would guess Dave Dombrowski would be happy to pay a bunch (of Sandoval’s salary) to save a bunch,” opined one major league scout. If asked about Sandoval, the Red Sox may be willing to pay a significant portion of the $59 million he’s owed between now and 2019, including his buyout for 2020.
On the field, the Red Sox may have trouble finding room for Sandoval in 2016. Boston is pursuing some top free agents to fill the void at DH left by David Ortiz, which could take Sandoval out of the equation to DH. The Red Sox also have alternatives at third base in Travis Shaw and Brock Holt, who are not ideal solutions, but could act as place holders for top prospect Yoan Moncada, who has already made his big league debut and could be ready for a full-time role with the Red Sox at some point in 2017.
Of course, there’s always a chance that the Red Sox try to give Sandoval another chance in 2017 to see if he can bounce back. However, if Sandoval has another poor season, he could become even more un-tradable than he is now. If the Giants have any interest in a reunion with Sandoval, it may be wise for the Red Sox to do whatever it takes to make it happen. There’s no assurance that the two teams have had discussions about Sandoval, but if the Giants want him back, the Red Sox should become facilitators in making that happen.