Earlier, we learned that the Giants and third baseman Pablo Sandoval haven’t made any progress on a contract extension. It appears Sandoval wants a deal similar to Hunter Pence’s five years and $90 million, which was struck last September.
CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly is reporting that, on Friday, the club offered Sandoval a three-year deal in the $40 million range, but it was rejected. Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez of SPS Sports Group, will remain in Arizona through the Giants’ season-opening series and will continue to negotiate, but he doesn’t expect any concessions. What he does expect, however, is for his client to test free agency if a deal can’t be struck by the All-Star break.
Sandoval has had health and conditioning issues, which is not an insignificant factor for the Giants. He logged over 470 plate appearances last season for the first time since 2010 and his weight has long been a source of concern, though he did show up in camp noticeably more svelte.
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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.