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Should the Yankees pursue Pablo Sandoval?

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With A-Rod an unknown commodity after a year away from baseball, should the Yankees go after the Kung Fu Panda to help them out at the hot corner?

Jason Miller

While they might not admit it publicly, going into next season with Alex Rodriguez penciled in at third base is not the best option for the New York Yankees.  The Yankees need to sign someone else.  They probably know this.  And yesterday, a report came out already linking them to Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Would the Bronx be an ideal home for the Kung Fu Panda?

Sandoval will become a free agent whenever San Francisco finishes up its postseason run, and the Yankees may be one of the only teams that would or could shell out the sizable contract he's reportedly looking for (somewhere around $100 million over five years).  Sandoval has been quite productive during his career with the Giants, posting some big offensive numbers during his six years in the majors (he had a 146 wRC+ in 2009 and a 149 in 2011).  While he hasn't been quite as successful over the past three seasons, he did manage to hit .279/.324/.415 this season with 16 home runs and a 111 wRC+.  Considering the Yankees have been starved for offense the past two years and are desperate to return to their bombing ways, the interest is understandable.

Sandoval isn't nearly as good in the field as he is at the plate, but he isn't awful.  In fact he's posted a positive UZR/150 over his career, albeit barely at 2.2.  His career DRS sits squarely at 0, making him the definition of average.  However, his defense will only get worse over the course of his contract, meaning that he'll likely go from an average fielder at best to a clear negative in the field in a couple years.  This is part of the reason he might find a bigger market this offseason in the American League - he, and potential suitors, probably see a shift to DH in his future.

This is perhaps the biggest reason for the Yankees not to sign Sandoval - they already have a third baseman that's not great in the field anymore and will be more of a DH over the next three seasons: Alex Rodriguez.  While A-Rod might not be quite as good with the bat as Sandoval next year (Rodriguez should still be productive), it seems redundant to have both of them for the next few seasons if both will be better suited at DH (especially considering that DH-ing A-Rod will probably be the only way to keep him healthy enough to contribute over the course of a full season).  Add in Carlos Beltran, and that's three players who will need some time at DH - leaving two more to play below-average defense in the field.

Sandoval's contract is also probably more than the Yankees should be willing to pay, especially since they have some business to take care of this offseason (signing a shortstop, shoring up the rotation, re-signing David Robertson).  While he certainly does some things well, when combined with an infield that needs to improve defensively, and with a team that will already have a few guys splitting time at DH over the coming years, it becomes clear that Sandoval is not the best fit at third base for this team.  While his bat would be welcome, there should be cheaper options out there that can hit almost as well while providing the consistent defense the Yankees could really use at the hot corner (Chase Headley, anyone?).

What do you think?  Is the Panda the best option for the Yankees at third in 2015?  Or should the front office turn its attention elsewhere?