A report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe states that the San Diego Padres have been and are currently scouting Pablo Sandoval. The switch-hitting third baseman has missed some games recently with a back injury, but appears to be over the issue.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) March 28, 2016
This seems plausible since the Padres were actively pursuing Sandoval last offseason prior to his decision to sign in Boston. His tenure with the Red Sox got off to an immediate bumpy start as he reported to camp last year overweight and had a horrible season. Sandoval hit .245 with 10 home runs last year and amassed a -0.9 WAR rating. He is owed $77.4 million for the next four seasons (with a buyout for the 2020 season), not very appealing at all. He also appears on the verge of losing his starting job to some combination of Brock Holt and Travis Shaw.
Sandoval’s contract is hefty, and the fact the Padres are scouting him seems strange. Perhaps the two teams would exchange bad contracts. James Shields and Matt Kemp come to mind. A Shields-for-Sandoval swap does not make sense to me as Shields still can be serviceable and is owed less money ($65 million for three years, but he can exercise an opt-out clause). Kemp is owed $73 million (after the Dodgers pay their $15 million owed) for the next four years and his contract is similar to Sandoval’s as far as tenure and amount owed.
A Kemp-for-Sandoval deal seems strange as well. The Sox already have plenty of outfield options and David Ortiz is locked as the team’s DH. He is in his retirement year, so Kemp could be an option for the Red Sox long-term at DH. A move to the American League could be beneficial for Kemp and his career. He can still hit the ball with authority but his defense has been on a steady decline. Still, he would be a strange addition to a Sox team that already has plenty of personality.
A.J. Preller is making moves. The Padres will not stand pat like they did at last July’s trade deadline. They have options on the trade front and we could very easily see a repeat of last season. He could very well pull of a deal like 2015 when he acquired Melvin Upton Jr. and Craig Kimbrel the day before the season started. The Red Sox are a likely trade partner, but in what regard?
Pablo Sandoval would provide some versatility, but in reality the Padres already have a more than capable third baseman in Yangervis Solarte. He is much cheaper and has been trending upwards with his offense. Sandoval might be better defensively than Solarte, but that might be about it. Of course Kung-Fu Panda does have the postseason track record, but that hardly outweighs his offensive woes and conditioning concerns.