Blue Jays Rumors: Toronto to meet with Pablo Sandoval’s agents at GM Meetings


The Toronto Blue Jays started the offseason with a bang, swinging a a couple of trades (including swapping long-time Blue Jays Adam Lind) and claimed a few players off of waivers for depth pieces. Now, it seems like Toronto is shifting its plans into gear and beginning to map out the bigger moves.

Yesterday we learned and discussed how the Blue Jays were planning on meeting with free agent catcher Russell Martin in the coming week, as well as the team’s interest in free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Now the latest rumors are indicating that the Blue Jays are moving beyond personal interest and into the realm of preliminary discussions.

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According to Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish, the Blue Jays are one of four teams that are scheduled to meet with Sandoval’s representative, including agent Gustavo Vasquez during this week’s General Managers Meetings that run from November 10-13th in Phoenix, Arizona. While Sandoval himself isn’t planning on being in attendance, the goal of these conversations is to set preliminary expectations in terms of contract length and size, from both suitor and potential client.

The 28-year-old Sandoval promises to be one of the most coveted free agents on the market this winter, both because of his youth and because of his solid track record at a premium position. However, that also leads to some concerns over the length of contract he’ll demand which could be a potential hurdle for the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that has a very strict policy about limiting long-term contracts to five years or less.

That particular concern may have been reduced a bit on Thursday, when Sandoval’s agent noted that his client is not setting a minimum length on contracts but rather will be looking for the best deal out there for his client. That can be read as they will consider deals that will overpay Sandoval over a shorter term. The good news in that regard is that the Blue Jays have already said that they will considering doing just that for the right candidate in order to stick to their policy.

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  • The question comes is whether Sandoval is the right candidate for that.

    Listed at 5’11” and perhaps a generous 245lbs, Sandoval’s build profiles better as a mall Santa than is does as a starting third baseman. While he showed above average range at the position in 2014 (3.5 UZR/150 and 4 DRS), those performances have fluctuated with his conditioning from year to year. That leads to long-term concerns over whether Sandoval can maintain his physical conditioning long-term.

    Additionally, despite his age indicating that he is entering his prime, Sandoval has seen steady decline since 2011 in OPS (.909, .789, .758, .739), wRC+ (149, 118, 116, 111), and ISO (.237, .164, .139, .136). Given the previous concern over Sandoval’s conditioning, he profiles as a player who would fit best with an American League team, where he can slide to the Designated Hitter slot toward the latter stages of his deal. However, his declining power numbers may not profile well as a bat-only player.

    Of course, adding Sandoval would still benefit the Blue Jays in the short-term. Adding him as third base would enable Toronto to shift Brett Lawrie (and his own health concerns) to second base permanently, solving yet another need for the Blue Jays. He’s still an upgrade over what the Blue Jays saw in 2014 and he’s managed to stay on the field consistently despite his body shape.

    The San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and the Chicago White Sox are also expected to meet with Sandoval’s people during the GM Meetings.