David Waldstein of the New York Times passes along reports from the Japanese media that Masahiro Tanaka has arrived in the United States. He’s going to tour this great land of ours, meeting general managers and owners wherever he goes while his agent, Casey Close, makes them do back flips and stuff. It’ll be quite the scene, man.
Tanaka’s presence on the market is holding things up for Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and the other free agent pitchers out there, one has to assume. Really, since mid December nothing of note has happened in hot stove land, and this is probably the reason. Perhaps that will all change some time during his tour.
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.