Those panda hats can stay in storage for now — Pablo Sandoval won’t be rejoining the Giants in 2017. At least, that’s the latest from MLB.com’s Chris Haft, who debunked previous rumors that the Giants were having internal discussions about their former third baseman.
As relayed by Haft, Giants’ GM Bobby Evans said the club prefers to stick with Eduardo Nunez in the hot corner for the time being. The Giants are expected to focus on bolstering their bullpen this offseason and have not announced any plans to restructure their infield as of yet.
It’s hardly surprising given Sandoval’s track record with the Red Sox over the last two seasons. The 30-year-old batted an underwhelming .245/.292/.366 over 505 PA during the Sox’ 2015 run, while a shoulder injury kept him sidelined through all but three games in 2016. A return to the starting lineup in 2017 doesn’t seem out of the question, but it’s difficult to believe the Giants would have jumped at the chance to take on the rest of the $58 million he’s owed through 2019 (with a buyout for 2020) considering the veteran’s declining offensive production and health and weight issues.
Sandoval is expected to compete with 26-year-old Travis Shaw and 28-year-old Brock Holt for a starting role in 2017.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Blue Jays have signed Steve Pearce to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million.
Pearce, 33 had some health issues in 2016, but he hit .288/.374/.492 across 302 plate appearances when he was on the field and he mashes lefties in particular. Pearce is versatile as well, logging time at first base, second base, right field, left field, and DH in 2016 while splitting time between the Rays and Orioles.
Last week Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was arrested in South Korea for driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. That’s bad, but it turns out that it’s nothing new. The Yonhapnews Agency reports that Kang has been arrested for DUI three times since 2009:
Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul confirmed that it was Kang’s third DUI arrest, with the three strikes law resulting in the immediate revocation of his license. According to police, Kang had also been arrested for a DUI in August 2009 and May 2011. No personal injuries were reported in either case, though he’d caused property damage in the latter incident.
The report also notes that a companion of Kang initially claimed that he, and not Kang, was behind the wheel at the time of the accident which led to Kang’s arrest last week. It was later revealed by the car’s black box, however, that Kang was driving. So add in some obstruction of justice, whether it is charged or not, to the scene. Police are investigating that.
Between all of this and the fact that Kang is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in Chicago this past season, a pretty ugly portrait of the Pirates’ infielder is beginning to reveal itself.