Free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval landed in Boston on Monday night, ahead of his Tuesday meeting with the Boston Red Sox. It’s no secret that the 28-year old has been one of the Red Sox top free agent targets this offseason, and the fact that he’s in Boston speaks to how much the team wants him. Recent history tells us that the Red Sox don’t normally schedule meetings with big name free agents just to express a higher level of interest. In 2010 the team flew in free agent starter John Lackey, and he ended up signing a 5 year, $82.5M contract. While Adrian Gonzalez wasn’t signed as a free agent but traded for, he too wound up inking a long term extension on his maiden trip to Boston. While Sandoval might still be interested in hearing what the San Francisco Giants have to say, you can almost bet that he’ll depart from Logan Airport on Wednesday morning with at least a contract offer on the table. The Red Sox still have a lot of holes to fill and have yet to patch any of them up, so I would expect them to try and lock up the Kung-Fu Panda before he even gets back to San Fran.
- If the Red Sox really want to commit to Pablo Sandoval, now is the time to act. Sandoval’s meeting in Boston on Tuesday marks what appears to be the first step to a multi-pronged offseason plan. Should the Red Sox move quickly to ink the 28-year old, the team would then be able to move on to addressing needs in the rotation, and the outfield logjam. (With Pablo Sandoval in town, Red Sox should make their move)
- Ever since the Red Sox dealt Jon Lester at the trade deadline last season, the hope around Boston has been that the lefty will re-sign with the Sox in the offseason. While Lester’s return was once thought to be a long shot, the Red Sox have said multiple times that they’re prepared to hand the southpaw a “competitive offer”. While the figures of that offer have yet to be seen, teams vying for Lester’s services like the Chicago Cubs, have begun to take notice of the Sox presence in the Lester market. (The Cubs believe Jon Lester will re-sign with Red Sox)
- With the recent decline in offense around Major League Baseball, teams are finding it more difficult to build strong line-ups. Evidence of the league-wide drop in offense is staggering. Just last season clubs averaged just 4.07 runs a game; the lowest mark in 33 years. On top of that, the league has seen significant declines in batting averages, extra base hits, and walks, while strikeout numbers have skyrocketed. Therefore, teams will continue to heavily rely on on-base percentage as an integral part of player evaluation, and crafting a line-up. (As offense declines in baseball, building a lineup becomes more of a puzzle)
- Big Papi and Kung-Fu Panda in the same line-up? David Ortiz would be more than alright with that. The Red Sox long time designated hitter has been a fan of Sandoval’s ever since he met him while on a rehab assignment in 2008. Since then, Sandoval has matched Ortiz’ World Series total and has put up Ortiz-esque numbers in October. (David Ortiz: Boston Red Sox would welcome Pablo Sandoval with open arms)
- Before Jason Heyward was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, the right-fielder seemed like a perfect fit for the Red Sox. However, Boston reportedly never approached Atlanta about the 25-year old, who went to the Cardinals in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects. Certainly the pitching-rich Red Sox could have matched the Cardinals offer for Heyward, which would have solved their need for a left-handed bat. Now the team must decide how to effectively use their glut of pitching in future trades. (Boston still hoarding pitching prospects as Jason Heyward traded for two)
- Tweet of the day: Same