The Red Sox have already made contact with Pablo Sandoval’s representatives, and a face-to-face meeting will take place at the general managers meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., next week, according to a major league source.
Sandoval, a 28-year-old third baseman, has been a star for the San Francisco Giants in three World Series. He owns a .426 World Series batting average, with a 1.162 OPS. Overall in the postseason, he has a .344 average and a .935 OPS, considerably better than his regular-season numbers.
Sandoval won’t be 29 until next Aug. 11, which is attractive to a team looking for a longer-term commitment for a position player.
The Red Sox are in need of a lefthanded hitter. Sandoval is a switch hitter whose splits in 2014 (.317, .199) favored the left side, but he did have two key righthanded hits in this year’s World Series.
Sandoval’s age is offset a bit by his weight issues. He is listed at 5 feet 11 inches and 245 pounds, but he appears heavier. He dropped about 30 pounds between the end of the 2013 season and spring training of 2014, but according to one Giants official, he gained at least 20 pounds back.
The Giants have had a lot of conversations with Sandoval about his weight, but his postseason prowess puts the Giants in a position where they will have to compete for his services. Besides the Red Sox and Giants, the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox appear most interested in Sandoval, but that list is expected to grow.
How much will it take?
Sandoval could max out at five years and $100 million, though given his age, a sixth year could be a possibility.
The Red Sox need a third baseman, because it appears they will not hand the job to Will Middlebrooks, though they would want to keep Middlebrooks and hope he develops into the power hitter they believe he can be.
With first baseman Mike Napoli’s contract expiring after 2015, and with designated hitter David Ortiz getting toward the end of his career, the Red Sox may remain patient with Middlebrooks unless there’s a deal in which a team insists he be included.
Follow Nick Cafardo on Twitter at @nickcafardo.