Should The Seattle Mariners Go After Pablo Sandoval?
By Dan Hughes
The Seattle Mariners are in the chase for one of the AL Wild-Card spots. But I can’t help but think about the looming offseason and the decisions that will need to be made prior to Spring Training 2015.
The M’s are desperately needing to get some production out of their designated hitter spot. And while they still need to find a right-handed bat with some pop, I have a suggestion as to whom the M’s could look at on the free agent market if they can’t find one.
The Kung Fu Panda. Pablo Sandoval.
Sandoval is a switch-hitter that is quietly having a solid season for the San Francisco Giants. Sources have indicated that the Giants are going to extend Sandoval a qualifying offer, which he will likely reject.
The Giants are thought to be willing to offer only three years – Pablo wants a 5-6 year deal worth $100 million+.
The Red Sox and Marlins are both thought to be interested in Sandoval’s services, so the M’s would have some competition.
But he is only 28 years old, is a two-time All-Star and because he is not regarded as a great fielder, why not bring him to the American League and make him your DH? Much like the Mariners did with a young 3B named Edgar Martinez. And like Edgar, Sandoval is a gap hitter with power.
He will more than likely finish the season just short of 30 homers, but with a batting average around .280 – much higher than anyone the M’s are trotting out at the DH spot currently.
Let’s take a look at Sandoval’s 2014 numbers and how they compare to the three Mariners that have primarily held DH duties this season: Logan Morrison, Corey Hart and Kendrys Morales.
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As you can see, Sandoval is superior – sometimes far superior- to every option the Mariners sent out there this year. And if the Mariners can find a right-handed power bat to play in right field or at first base this offseason, they could bat Sandoval at 6th. Imagine the protection Robinson Cano could have in a lineup that featured several legitimate 80+ RBI guys behind him.
He’s not going to come cheap, but he should be one of the more attractive options – because of his age – out there on the market.
Hart and Morales are both free agents after this season and should NOT be re-signed. The Mariners could keep LoMo at first and trade Justin Smoak if they can’t find a right-handed power bat on the market.
They also have D.J. Peterson waiting in the wings for 2016, perhaps next season.
But Pablo isn’t a bad fit. And despite not having a bad year this year, if he can continue to regain even more of his 2009 luster (.330, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 44 2B) it could be WELL worth the investment.