With free agency, which will begin five days after the end of the World Series, rapidly approaching and the Red Sox coming off a disappointing 2014, the rumors are swirling through Boston headlines lately. The most recent article to come to the forefront comes from an unnamed Giants official, who, in a recent interview with Pete Gammons, spoke on potential free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, saying “The bigger the stage, the better he plays. He would love Boston.”
On the surface, this doesn’t mean a ton. Unnamed team officials say a whole lot of things which never wind up happening but, with Sandoval potentially one of the top free agent targets for the Red Sox, this does bear some notice.
Sandoval, a career .294/.346/.465 hitter in a notorious pitchers’ park in San Francisco, is likely to net the largest contract of any third baseman on the market (aside from Hanley Ramirez, who is technically still a shortstop). Most experts have predicted that he will land a contract of at least five years, with his team potentially on the hook for $90M or more over the duration of his contract.
Sandoval has been a solid hitter throughout his career but coming off a .279/.324/.415 season in 2014 and with concerns over his weight and ability to play third base going forward, he’s simply unlikely to live up to that high price. However, perhaps is Sandoval is enamored enough with the idea of playing third base for the Red Sox, he would be willing to take a slight pay cut to join the Red Sox.
Even with a pay cut, he would still be quite pricey, but a 4 year/$80M contract would be much more manageable than 5/$90M, as the Red Sox could miss out on the worse part of his inevitable decline, which could hit sharply given his weight.
It certainly isn’t safe to assume he is willing to take less money to come to the Red Sox. However, it is intriguing to know that he would be amenable to joining the Red Sox and, with his big-game performances in recent years, it’s easy to see him carving out a following in Beantown. More than likely, this news is simply a Giants’ official tossing out a remote possibility, but who knows, maybe Sandoval’s big-stage personality could lead him to Fenway Park.