Buster Olney at ESPN wrote about pending free agents and those who will likely be offered the qualifying offer, of around $15 million. He said Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants will likely receive and refuse the offer making him a qualified free agent. If a team signs him before the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft then the Giants will receive a compensation first rounder for him. Olney did say this though:
"San Francisco is interested in re-signing him and intends to give him a qualifying offer, with the expectation that he will reject it and test the market. The team seems prepared to offer him a three-year deal, but four years might be a stretch."
Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles wrote that the Giants didn’t offer Angel Pagan a qualifying offer after 2012 and might have cost them more money due to the interest from other clubs. Brisbee is correct. The Giants front office can be “odd” sometimes and that we shouldn’t “underestimate the odd.” Maybe they offer Sandoval a three year deal expecting to end up around a five or six year deal.
As Olney states, the Giants are likely to offer Sandoval a three-year deal. What? Why would he ever take that? The only way he takes a three-year deal if it’s over $65 million in total guaranteed money. With the low supply in capable hitters in this year’s free agent market, Sandoval will be highly touted. Teams in the American League can sign him to be their DH/third baseman/first baseman.
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If anyone thinks Sandoval isn’t going to get five plus years, they don’t understand the free agent market nowadays. The teams that we can all agree on that will be in the mix are the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and maybe even the Toronto Blue Jays.
Here’s a look at the free agent class this year: Hanley Ramirez, Melky Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Russell Martin, Nelson Cruz, Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Morse, J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis, and Kendrys Morales. Not only does Sandoval stand out, but also he is arguably the most valuable player in that group and could garner the most money.
Sandoval, this season, has a slash of .284/.331/.429 with 16 home runs, 69 runs batted in, and a .760 OPS. He has a FanGraphs WAR of 3.5 and a wRC+ of 117 (17% above average). He is considered a top three defensive third baseman this season as he has a 7.1 defensive rating on FanGraphs. In 859 career games, he as a combined WAR of 21.4, averaging 4.05 WAR every 162 games.
One last thing, if Shin-Soo Choo can get seven years as a 31-year old, with an injury history, and a prodigious free agent season, then why can’t Sandoval? Boy, is that Hunter Pence deal (5 years, $90 million) looking better and better everyday since the Giants’ general manager Brian Sabean tabled talks in April.