There’s at least some possibility the Red Sox’ recent decision to designate Pablo Sandoval for assignment could result in the veteran heading back to San Francisco, FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes. Sources close to Sandoval indicate that he would be highly interested in returning to the Giants, despite comments he made during his first Spring Training with Boston in which he claimed the only Giants he would miss were Bruce Bochy and Hunter Pence.
The Giants’ own level of interest is less clear, and GM Bobby Evans recently demurred when asked about Sandoval (which is standard policy, since Sandoval is still technically a member of another organization). Whispers surrounding the club indicate, however, that the team is at least considering bringing Sandoval back.
Once he clears waivers, the Red Sox can outright Sandoval to Triple-A or release him, at which point he’ll be able to sign elsewhere at a prorated portion of the league-minimum salary. Whatever happens, the Red Sox are extremely likely to be on the hook for the remainder of Sandoval’s contract, which pays him about $50MM more through 2019.
After a three-season tenure in Boston marked mostly by injuries and poor hitting, it’s unsurprising that Sandoval would now have a different view about playing with the Giants. While in San Francisco, he was a part of three World Series titles (including 2012, when he was World Series MVP, and his last year with the club in 2014), and made two All-Star teams.
What’s less clear is how the Giants might view a player who’s shown few glimpses of his early-career talent since departing for Boston, particularly one who burned bridges with the organization as he departed. As Andrew Baggarly of the Bay Area News Group points out, the Giants have frequently brought back former players (such as Ryan Vogelsong and Travis Ishikawa) after stints elsewhere. But it’s hard to see what purpose re-acquiring Sanodval would serve, unless the Giants feel he would benefit quite dramatically from a change of scenery.
A trade of Eduardo Nunez could technically leave the Giants with a vacancy at third base, but they might prefer to take a closer look at former KBO slugger Jae-gyun Hwang. (Another possibility, Christian Arroyo, is currently on the shelf with a hand injury.) And in general, a 35-56 team would not seem likely to be interested in 30-year-old veteran three years removed from his last good season. Perhaps, though, the Giants could find space for Sandoval to reestablish himself in Triple-A, or count on him to contribute in big-league bench role.