Is Pablo Sandoval worth a 6-year commitment?

Should anyone risk signing Pablo Sandoval long-term? If so, who will?

To answer my own question in a word? No. However, the real answer is “not really but chances are someone will take it.”

He’s got a lot of positives but six years is a big commitment for a club. Especially when you are dealing with an overweight third baseman.

That extra weight literally “weighs” on his body playing at the hot corner. Wendy Thurm tweeted about this very subject Friday.

She did the research, not me but I can see how that is true. Third base isn’t hard on the body like playing catcher but you can imagine what it would be like with a lot of extra weight on. Making diving stops wouldn’t be happening very often.

So really if a team is looking for a long-term third baseman Pablo Sandoval probably isn’t your guy. I’m sure he doesn’t share the same view but even he can’t predict how he’ll be at age 32 or 34 and that’s a big risk and a lot of money for any club.

Sandoval was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a foot fracture in 2013. There were concerns about his weight then and there are now. At the time, Dayn Perry of CBS Sports wrote,

I’ve said this before, but absent some kind of glandular/hormonal disorder, there’s no excuse for a professional athlete who’s tasked with manning a fairly important defensive position to be in the kind of shape that Sandoval is in. It’s past time for Sandoval to address the underlying causes.”

Pablo Sandoval. Getty Images.
Pablo Sandoval. Getty Images.

He is a risk and he will be playing a very crucial defensive position as Perry asserts. Sandoval has lost weight but he has also gained it back. There is no guarantee on how much he will weigh at any given time.

Still, estimated numbers for Sandoval’s contract are starting at about $17 million per season or likely over the $100 million mark.

He’s consistently put up above average numbers his entire career, so that’s again assuming he remains healthy. He hit .279 in 2014 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI, which is good. It’s just not nearly as good as his numbers when he was 22.

He batted .330 with 26 home runs and 90 RBI in 153 games with the San Francisco Giants in 2009. He also made two All-Star appearances in 2011 and 2012 but missed out on the mid-summer classic in 2013 and 2014.

However his postseason performances have been pretty amazing. He was name MVP of the World Series in 2012.

Pablo Sandoval. Getty Images.
Pablo Sandoval. Getty Images.

In the 2014 World Series Sandoval put up a performance worthy of another MVP Award. If it weren’t for the unbelievable pitching performance of Madison Bumgarner, he may have.

The Panda hit .429 with six runs scored and four driven in during the seven-game series.

Offensively Sandoval is sound and he definitely will bring that to the table, but a six-year contract with his weight issues is just too risky for a team to take.

He’ll probably end up in Boston. The Red Sox have been the team most closely tied to Sandoval besides the Giants. 

The Red Sox have the resources to be able to sign Sandoval and take the risk of him being a bust.

The Miami Marlins have also been rumored to be interested but their concern at the moment is signing Giancarlo Stanton to a long term deal. That won’t come cheap. 

He says that his contract is more about the number of years than the money, which is obviously why he immediately turned down the Giants’ qualifying offer.

Still though the money will inevitably make a difference. The Giants will have to bid high for Sandoval if they want him and they are also going to have to pay Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford soon.

They have Matt Cain and Buster Posey both signed to big deals. Spending $100 million and committing to six years on Sandoval doesn’t seem prudent at least for San Francisco.

I don’t believe any team should commit that much to the Panda but I guarantee some team will. Or possibly get him to sign for four years plus options/incentives but he’ll still be pricey.

A big payday is basically a lock for Sandoval because of the lack of third baseman on the free agent market. There is also Chase Headley but the New York Yankees have made it clear that they want him back in 2015.

My guess is Boston, and my conclusion is that he’s not worth the risk. Most teams are weary of signing any player that long, but Panda has the weight issues and realistically, he probably won’t still be playing third base when he is 34. Teams should steer clear.

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