The Boston Red Sox have agreed to sign Pablo Sandoval, his agent Gustavo Vazquez confirmed to multiple reporters. The deal will be officially announced tomorrow. The deal is over five years and is worth $95 million, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. It also includes a club option for a fifth season.
The Giants, Sandoval's former club, have released a statement wishing him good luck with the Red Sox.
"His connection with Giants fans - young and old - is truly special and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston," it said.
The Red Sox were one of the three finalists for Sandoval, along with the Padres and the Giants. The Padres reportedly offered Sandoval a deal in the $100 million range, but Sandoval showed a willingness to win and go to Boston. The Giants reportedly offered him a $95 million deal with a willingness to go to $100 million. Sandoval, however, allegedly wanted to go to Boston.
Sandoval represents the second big transaction the Red Sox made today. They also reportedly signed Hanley Ramirez, adding two pieces to help their team get back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 2013. Sandoval will slide in nicely at third base, but Ramirez will either play at shortstop or left field, with the latter being more likely. Yoenis Cespedes, it seems, will be forced out.
Pablo Sandoval was signed by the Giants as an amateur free agent in 2003. He never reached any top prospect lists, but he was really good in the minor leagues, posting a .972 OPS in 485 plate appearances in 2008. He was called up for a quick cup of coffee that season, but really broke onto the scene in 2009.
Sandoval has been great at getting on base over his seven year tenure with the Giants. He has a career .465 on-base percentage to go along with a .811 OPS. His 123 OPS+ suggests that his OPS (park adjusted) has been 23 percent better than the average major leaguer. He is a two-time All-Star and the 2012 World Series MVP. Sandoval has a career .935 OPS in the postseason (167 plate appearances).
This past season, Sandoval hit .279/.324/.415 with 16 homers and 73 runs batted in over 638 plate appearances. He was an amble defender, even considering his weight (245 lbs.), posting a 3.5 UZR/150 in 2014, suggesting that he was just better than the average fielder.
Sandoval might not be able to play third base for the entirety of his rumored five-year deal. However, when David Ortiz retires, Sandoval will be able to make a smooth transition into the designated hitter's spot for Boston, which appears to be the longterm goal for him.