Pablo Sandoval was released last week by the Red Sox, three years into a disastrous five-year, $95 million contract. Now he is a free agent, free to sign with anyone for the league minimum with the Red Sox paying his entire guaranteed salary (ain’t it nice to be a baseball player?) The Giants are reported to be the team most interested in signing him, bringing Sandoval back to the place where he enjoyed his initial success. But now FanRag reporter Jon Heyman reports there are other teams interested in Sandoval, specifically the Kansas City Royals.
Royals fans may remember Sandoval as the portly, affable third baseman who caught the last out of the 2014 World Series and hit .279/.324/.415 with 16 HR 73 RBI for the Giants that year. Since he caught that pop fly from Salvador Perez, he has been....not good at baseball. In the last three years, Sandoval has hit .237/.286/.360 with 14 home runs in 161 games. That is a lower OPS than Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris, and Billy Burns over that time, and with his poor fielding, Sandoval has been worth -2 WAR. Perhaps it was a curse from Salvy.
So where would a poor-hitting, poor-fielding, 30-year old switch-hitter fit on the Royals? The Royals already have Mike Moustakas entrenched at third base with Cheslor Cuthbert due to come off the disabled list soon. Sandoval could DH, but he doesn’t seem to be much of an upgrade over Brandon Moss, who has begun to warm up lately. The Royals will probably face a bit of a roster jam anyway when Cuthbert comes back since he doesn’t have options.
Maybe this is the Royals kicking the tires on all available options, or maybe Jon Heyman is drumming up interest for Sandoval (who is not a Scott Boras client). But this is one of the more puzzling rumors of the year for the Royals.