A couple of updates here on Cliff Lee and his big free agent decision.
We know that the Yankees have offered the left-hander a seven-year deal worth around $161 million. And we know that the Rangers have offered six guaranteed years with some kind of option for a seventh. Now we’re just waiting for Lee to pick one.
Sadly, it may be another 24 hours or so before that pick is made.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Rangers president Nolan Ryan is under the impression that Lee is going to spend the entire weekend in thought and won’t announce which team he is signing with until Monday.
“I’ve run all my traps and don’t know anything,” Ryan said, “so we’ll just wait and see.”
Lee, 32, turned in a sparkling 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts in 2010, racking up 185 strikeouts and only 18 walks along the way. The average velocity on his fastball has risen steadily over the last five seasons. In 2006 and 2007, he clocked in at 89.0 MPH. In 2008, that saw a slight bump to 90.5 MPH. Then in 2009 he averaged 91.1 MPH, and this past year he was at 91.3 MPH.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.