Free Agent Spotlight 2015: Pablo Sandoval
Now that the San Francisco Giants have proven their dynasty status—in remarkable fashion—with their third World Series win in five years, it’s time to look forward to the off season and the joys that the free agent market brings. Over the next few weeks we’ll be profiling a few of the hottest free agents on the market, their upsides, downsides, and whether or not they would fit in on the Mariners roster for next year.
Enter Pablo Sandoval.
Yes, we’re talking about The Panda. The one that winked at the camera before his first at-bat in Game 7, as a silent message that he knew the Giants were going to come through victorious in that game.
He’s a free agent now, and I’m certain the offers have already come flying in for his services. Let’s break it down for you nice and simple.
The Panda spent his years in San Fran amassing quite the resumé. A career .294 hitter, 2012 World Series MVP and two-time All-Star, Sandoval knows how to come through when his team needs him most. He has averaged 66 RBIs per season over his seven seasons in the MLB, which isn’t a bad clip.
Sandoval is also a switch hitter, and while that means he would probably be batting lefty for most of his at-bats, he has the option of being able to switch sides against a lefty should the situation arise.
Sandoval’s XBR (the metric I made as an attempt to show how often a player hits for power) comes out to .335, which, although it’s not the greatest, certainly means shows that he has decent pop behind the bat (for comparison, Ken Griffey Jr.’s career XBR is .428).
With a career .967 fielding percentage, The Panda isn’t bad with the glove either.
He comes with a hefty price tag. Nobody should expect the Giants to let one of their marquee players go to any team, let alone the Mariners, for cheap. Sandoval made just over eight million dollars last year, and I’m sure his agent would try to fetch upwards of $10 million a year after this year. For reference, Kyle Seager only makes $500,000 a season. With the supposed expanded payroll that the Mariners are getting this season, acquiring Sandoval isn’t out of the question, but still a long shot.
The Mariners already have a third baseman. The aforementioned Seager would appear to be the Mariners’ third baseman of the future, which would mean that the M’s would probably have to either play Pablo at first, or as a DH. If there’s another team out there that would play Sandoval at third, my instinct would be that he goes there, unless the M’s send him a contract offer that is too good to turn down. That would, again, cost a pretty penny.
So, where does he fit in?
If the M’s even decide to make an offer to Sandoval, he would probably fit best as a first baseman. To make this signing even feasible, it would mean that we let Logan Morrison walk, or keep him around as a DH, which he didn’t do a whole lot of last season. Sandoval is statistically a better hitter than Morrison, so the M’s would be upgrading at that whatever position Sandoval plays.
Although Sandoval would be a valuable asset to the Mariners as a batter, he doesn’t quite fit in defensively with the current roster the Mariners have. They should pass on Sandoval and go after someone else. Besides, he seems like the kind of guy that wants to spend his career on one team.