Baseball

Could San Diego be a landing spot for Pablo Sandoval?

Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was courted by San Diego during his free agency run.
JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2016
Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was courted by San Diego during his free agency run.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — There’s a San Diego Padres scout here taking a close look at Pablo Sandoval, post-back injury.

Does the story go beyond that?

It’s anyone’s guess.

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The Padres were one of the teams that offered Sandoval a contract in the winter of 2014, when he was a free agent, along with Boston and San Francisco. Sandoval spurned the Padres’ offer, which was thought to be slightly larger than the Giants’ and Red Sox’, to sign with Boston.

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The Padres have had problems filling their third base void.

The fact that they are watching Sandoval the next couple of days — he went 0 for 3 in a minor league game Monday and is scheduled to start Tuesday for the first time since going down with back stiffness — may or may not mean anything, but they’re certainly leaving all options open.

The Padres have been open to trading veteran starter James Shields, who also has a big contract, in the right type of deal. The Red Sox and Orioles have been both linked to Shields, who went 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA last season and allowed a major league-high 33 homers.

Shields also is working on a streak of nine straight 200-inning seasons, the longest active one now that Mark Buehrle has retired.

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Shields, 34, is a former Tampa Bay teammate of David Price, and the Red Sox lefthander credits Shields with mentoring him as a young pitcher.

Shields, who is 127-97 lifetime with a 3.74 ERA, has about $65 million remaining on his deal, which includes a $2 million buyout on his 2019 $16 million option. The Red Sox are on the hook with the 29-year-old Sandoval for $77.4 million, which includes a $5 million buyout of his $17 million option season in 2020.

The Padres would probably want a prospect in a deal for Shields since they’re trying to rebuild. Yangervis Solarte is their top-rated third baseman.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.