12 Nov 2014
ESPN is reporting that the Red Sox are “all-in” in an attempt to sign Pablo Sandoval. While the free agency process is filled with posturing and interesting rumors, there’s no doubt Sandoval would be a useful addition.
The worries, however, start with the fact he is not a highly conditioned athlete and history shows that those types don’t generally have long-lasting careers. Couple that with the fact he is at free agency for the first time and trying to make a financial score, and this might not be the best thing for the Red Sox to do.
He is only 28 years old but let’s consider other baseball players who aren’t/weren’t in tip-top condition:
Prince Fielder – 30 years old and in the middle of a massive contract. He played in only 42 games in 2014 and while it is too soon to count him out, I’d be very worried if I were the Texas Rangers.
Cecil Fielder – He starred in his 20’s but as his last all-star season was at age 32. He was out of baseball at age 34.
Greg Luzinski – Now I was young when Luzinski was playing, but I remember him as a large fellow. Please correct me if I am wrong. His career was done at 33.
John Kruk – At his own admission, he is not a fitness freak and was out of baseball at 34 (although was reasonably productive in his last years).
Ryan Howard – Wow, am I picking on Phillies players or what here? Ryan is 34 and posted a .690 OPS this year. His last good year was at age 31 and his contract runs for a few more years so I’d not be optimistic if I were his GM.
Adam Dunn – Announced his retirement at age 34. His last very good year was at age 30 when he posted a .892 OPS.
Now there are outliers like David Ortiz. He is a very large man yet here he is at age 38 still being productive and this guy named Babe Ruth played well to age 39. Also keep in mind, baseball-reference has Kruk still listed at 5′ 10″, 170 lbs. Sure. I guess my point is this exercise isn’t scientific but I hope it supports the idea that a 6 year deal at $90-$100m for Sandoval is crazy in my opinion. His OPS has declined each of the last 4 seasons. Perhaps you’d get 2-3 good years out of him but also 2-3 lousy years as well.
I’d pass if I were Boston.