The San Francisco Giants have extended a qualifying offer of $15.3 million to third baseman Pablo Sandoval. The hefty yet agile Sandoval who just collected his third World Series ring in five years will probably decline the offer. After all, he did turn down a three year, $40 million offer during spring training. So look for Kung Fu Panda to test the market.
It looks like the New York Yankees won’t be pursuing Sandoval and will be sticking with A-Rod at third as he comes off his year long suspension. Given the amount they have vested in him they don’t have much of a choice.
This must make the Boston Red Sox giddy because it’s no secret they’re interested in signing Panda (failing that Chase Headley, late of the Yankees, is also an option). The team needs offense and it needs an everyday third baseman. The injury prone Will Middlebrooks, who hit .191 in only 63 games, isn’t the answer. Although Xander Bogaerts played well at third when the Sox won the World Series in 2013 he languished there until he was moved back to his natural position at shortstop. Brock Holt was very good there. Of course, Brock Holt is good anywhere you put him, but he isn’t going to hit 20 home runs for you.
Sandoval would be a perfect fit on that team. His addition would certainly add to the Latin American flavor of the team. Throw in Panda with Big Papi, Bogaerts, Yoenis Cespedes and Cuban rookie sensation Rusney Castillo for a full season and you’ve the one through five part of the batting order locked in. Rubby De La Rosa also figures to be a prominent part of the Red Sox starting rotation next season and Sandoval’s fellow Venezuelan, Edward Mujica could end up being the closer if Koji Uehara doesn’t return to form.
Now I’m sure getting Jon Lester to return to Boston is the team’s biggest priority. But Sandoval is most certainly on their radar. He is 28 and in just under seven big league seasons, Sandoval has collected 946 hits for a lifetime batting average of .294 with an OBP of .346. Panda has 106 HR with 462 RBI. He is entering the peak years of his career if the Red Sox offer him a five year deal in the neighborhood of $75 million he could be spending those peak years here in Boston. In which case pandamonium will ensue at Fenway Park.
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