The San Diego Padres season has not exactly turned out as planned. The team was to contend in the difficult National League Western Division, but they have failed to play with any type of consistency. The off-season changes that were made intended to take this franchise into a whole new level, but they keep spinning their wheels in an attempt to compete.
James Shields was brought in to anchor an already formidable pitching staff, but he too has failed to be consistent. The fact Shields was brought to San Diego, surprised many in the baseball community. Typical Padres teams do not go after and land a high-priced free agent like Shields. Fans automatically thought his addition would take them to the promise land.
That has not exactly happened as the Padres are currently in fourth place in their division and are closer to obtaining the #1 pick next June, rather than earning that second wild card spot. The cold hard facts are tough to realize, but that is exactly what they are. This team just isn’t that good right now. They are missing several key pieces to compete.
In recent days there has been a lot of talk about the Padres placing James Shields and Matt Kemp on waivers. Both players are due a lot of money in the next few years, and the Padres would surely like some more flexibility. Would the team really consider dealing the face of the franchise (Kemp) and its ace pitcher (Shields)? Kemp’s contract is more of a burden than Shields and he hasn’t performed well this season at all. He will mos likely remain a Padre, but Shields could very easily be dealt.
The most recent rumor has Shields going to the Boston Red Sox for Pablo Sandoval. The same Pablo Sandoval that A.J. Preller reportedly went wild after during the off-season and almost signed in San Diego. It was reported that the Padres offered more money to Sandoval, but he chose to go to the Red Sox. Signing a 5-year/$95 million dollar contract with them in December. That is a lot of money for the switch hitting third baseman from Venezuela.
I am not quite sure why the Red Sox have soured on him so much. The team went crazy this off-season in signing Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Both players have not been a hit with the fan base and the team has reportedly soured on Ramirez too. The Red Sox overhauled their offense this off-season, but failed to bring in any quality starting pitchers. Wade Miley and Rick Porcello have done nothing but anger Sox fans. Shields would be a huge upgrade for them, but would the Padres consider dealing for Sandoval?
Hanley Ramirez could be a fit for the Padres. He has the ability to play shortstop, third base and outfield. He has a reputation as a selfish player, and has also had trouble staying healthy. Not a great recipe for the Padres. They will and should definitely stay away from him. Sandoval on the other hand has some very nice qualities that could play well in a Padres uniform.
Sandoval is a switch hitter (The Padres are overloaded with right handed bats), he also doesn’t strike out very much. His defense is descried as average, but Sandoval has shown terrific instincts at the hot corner. His WAR currently stands at -0.5 this season. That is by far his worst stats for WAR in his eight year career. A little troubling when you take into consideration that Sandoval has had weight issues in the past. Could he be headed for a downward trend?
The Padres have many options when it comes to dealing Shields. Pablo Sandoval really shouldn’t be one of them. His contract alone should deter the team. He is due a guaranteed $74.4 million with the ability for the contract to get to $89.4 million through the 2020 season. That is a little over $10 million more than what the Padres could pay Shields through the 2019 season. There contracts are pretty similar, but the risk involved in Sandoval make this a troubling potential deal.
Pablo Sandoval has a great history of performing in the clutch. He has done really well in the playoffs for the San Francisco Giants the last few years. Sandoval is hitting .344 with 6 homers and 20 RBI’s in 154 total playoff at bats. He has also hit .426 with three home runs and eight RBI’s in leading the Giants to three World Series titles in the last five years. A great clutch hitter, who always turned it up for the Giants when it mattered.
Nothing would be more interesting than seeing a bunch of Kung-Fu Panda hats being worn at Petco Park. However the cost and risk of Panda (AKA Sandoval), is just too high for the Padres at this moment. He would give the team a third baseman for the future, but with too may question marks, the team is likely to look elsewhere for a match of James Shields.