The Padres have had internal discussions about the possibility of dealing for Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval, Jon Heyman tweets. (Via WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Padres deny that there have been any substantive talks.) The Padres are not among the three teams to whom Sandoval can block a trade, Heyman adds. Sandoval is still owed $75MM through 2019, including a $5MM buyout on his 2020 option, so as Heyman notes, a deal to send Sandoval from the Padres to the Red Sox would likely include money to offset his contract.
The Red Sox recently named rookie Travis Shaw their starter at third base ahead of Sandoval, even though they’re only one year into Sandoval’s contract. The Padres, meanwhile, reportedly had a scout watching Sandoval, although it wasn’t clear how much interest they had in him or whether that scout might be watching someone else. The Padres had interest in Sandoval during their splashy 2014-15 offseason, reportedly offering Sandoval a nine-figure deal that exceeded the Red Sox’ offer in total value.
The Padres might now see Sandoval as presenting an opportunity to buy low, although it’s not clear whether Sandoval is an upgrade over current Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte. Solarte hit .270/.320/.428 last season and projects to produce 1.6 fWAR, via ZiPS. Sandoval, meanwhile, batted .245/.292/.366 and projects to produce 0.9 fWAR (although another projection system, Steamer, rates him as being likely to produce half a win better than that). Sandoval would seem to be a curious addition for a Padres team that was badly burned by veteran additions two winters ago and now seems more focused on trading high-profile veterans rather than on adding them.
There’s been some speculative conversation about a trade that could send Sandoval to San Diego and James Shields to Boston, and a Sandoval/Shields framework might make some sense, at least on a purely financial level — the Padres still owe Shields $65MM on the deal he signed with them last offseason. While Shields’ home-run-heavy first year with the Padres was merely a relatively small disappointment, though, Sandoval’s first year with Boston was a disaster, so the two players’ current values seem somewhat different.