We heard a report over the weekend that the Dodgers were “aggressively pursuing” free agent outfielder Torii Hunter. While nothing can be ruled out right now with the free-spending Dodgers, it didn’t make a lot of sense considering that Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford are all locked in on long-term contracts. And it appears they will not be a match.
Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles was told by a source that the Dodgers are “out” on Hunter. No word on whether the player or the team ended talks, but Hunter told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times on Saturday that the Dodgers didn’t offer him a two-year deal and that he wasn’t ready to take on a diminished role. He’s likely to get a two-year deal and a clear path to a starting job elsewhere.
The Tigers, Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Braves are just a few of the teams who have reportedly expressed interest in Hunter. Saxon reported this morning that the veteran outfielder is expected to make a decision about where to sign within the next two weeks.
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.