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.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.