Astros claim Fernando Martinez off waivers from Mets

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As expected, Fernando Martinez didn’t make it very far on the waiver wire after being dropped from the 40-man roster by the Mets earlier this week. One spot, in fact.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the 23-year-old former top prospect was snatched up by the Astros, who have the No. 1 waiver priority by virtue of their MLB-worst 56-106 record last season.

Martinez’s stock has plummeted during the past couple years because of chronic knee problems and mediocre production in the minors, but he’s certainly still worth taking a flier on for a rebuilding, talent-starved team like the Astros.

Mets fans are no doubt frustrated to lose Martinez for nothing after years of seeing him rumored to be the centerpiece of various blockbuster trade possibilities, but at this point his value is pretty marginal and general manager Sandy Alderson surely tried to get something in return for him via trade before placing him on waivers.

Blame injuries and the previous regime’s maddening tendency to rush top prospects through the minors. Or the fact that even the best prospects fail to pan out half the time, especially when the hype machine starts as a teenager.

The Giants are considering Pablo Sandoval at second base

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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.