Safeco Field is where offense goes to die. Maybe not in the future. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners are moving in their fences next season.
The specifics: The fences will be moved in four feet from the left field corner to the space between the bullpens — which is roughly straightway left field. Likewise, From straightaway center to right center, the wall will be moved in four feet. Four feet is significant. But that’s nothing compared to this:
Wow. Launching pad west? I dunno. I know that park kills offense, especially for righthanders, but that seems like lots of feet. Like, several more than many.
In addition, the hand-operated scoreboard in left will be relocated. Now it’s 16 feet high and in play. The new wall will be uniformly 8 feet high.
It’s official, and the changes have been approved by Major League Baseball. Gentlemen, start your Hittrackers and let’s see how much this will warp the offense in Seattle. If it is indeed warped at all.
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.