Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox. Boston now has ten days to waive, trade or release Sandoval.
This brings an end to one of the more ill-fated free agent signings the BoSox have made. Sandoval, who turns 31 next month, was signed to a five year, $95 million deal after the 2014 season. Sandoval burst on the scene in 2008-09 as “Kung-Fu Panda,” a roly-poly San Francisco Giant who had preternatural hitting abilities. In 2013-14, however, the two seasons leading up to his free agency, Sandoval hit .279/.332/.416 — still a 113 OPS+, but not the level of performance that was expected from him.
Still, needing a third baseman, Boston snagged Sandoval in free agency, and he was a disaster in 2015, putting up a .245/.292/.366 slash line in 126 games. Sandoval only had 7 plate appearances in 2016, missing most of the season with injury, and put up a .212/.269/.354 slash line in 108 plate appearances this year.
A team may be willing to take Sandoval and pay a small portion of his contract in the hopes that they can get him back to being serviceable again -- San Diego, in rebuilding mode and with no one meaningful holding down third base now, would seem to be a possibility. But most likely Boston waives Sandoval, and pays him the $49.5 million he is still due, and Sandoval becomes a free agent.