Get Pablo Sandoval off my team. I don’t care who you get in return, or how you do it. Just get him out of here.
According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the San Diego Padres are “taking a close look at Pablo Sandoval” to see how he looks in the wake of his back injury, which he claimed to have been feeling much better lately. Whether or not that’s true, the Padres would be real assholes for not taking the man at his word and calling him a liar. If he says he’s healthy, you should definitely trade for him immediately.
If you recall, the Padres actually made the highest offer to Sandoval when he was a free agent after the 2014 season. I think it would be hilarious if he took less money to come to Boston and then ended up with the Padres for the majority of his deal anyway. So, the first question that fans ask when they hear a player on their favorite team is involved in trade talks is, who could we get for him? I think most fans know the answer to that question in his particular case, because it’s been talked about for months now: James Shields.
At first, I was totally against this. I mean, the numbers speak for themselves. He’s a 34-year-old fly ball pitcher, who gave up the most home runs in the league last year, pitching half a season in a pitcher-friendly ballpark when that won’t exactly bode well at Fenway Park. I’d be a hypocrite to cite Shields’ postseason numbers as a downside here, but they’re not that good, either, but at least David Price has Cy Young-type regular season numbers to offset the small sample size in the postseason.
But when you look at a Sandoval for Shields swap, you know that it’s a bad contract for bad contract deal. The Red Sox have way more financial flexibility than the Padres, so I would assume that San Diego would want the Red Sox to assume Shields’ contract in full, while eating some of Sandoval’s contract. Either that, or they’d have to attach a prospect to Sandoval in order to make the idea of having Sandoval as a player on their team more appealing.
On the surface, you wouldn’t sign Shields as a free agent today to a three-year, $63 million deal, which is what he has remaining. But, if you consider all the factors, such as the addition by subtraction in that you’d be getting Travis Shaw at third base, you’d be removing Sandoval from the equation entirely, so that you don’t have a disgruntled, overpaid player with an ego on the bench, and also, you’d be getting something of great value in Shields in that he’s a 200-inning pitcher. Beyond Price, you don’t have that. The rest of Boston’s rotation after Price has a grand total of one 200-inning season, and that belongs to Rick Porcello, the year before he got dealt to the Red Sox.
I’ll be the first to admit that I balked at the idea of Sandoval for Shields. But in this league, in this division, innings are incredibly important, and since 2007, Shields has averaged 221 innings per season. That’s some Roy Halladay shit right there. If you wanted to take the pessimistic route, it’d be fair to say, well, doesn’t that mean that he’s due to break down with all that milage on his arm? Sure, fair point. But would you rather roll the dice on a guy who’s been a lock to throw 200 innings every year over the last nine years as your No. 2 starter, or Clay Buchholz, who has been a lock to end up on the disabled list every year over the last nine years?
Also, if this deal goes down, please include Don Orsillo in the trade and we’ll eat all of Sandoval’s salary. Thanks.