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SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants extended a $15.3 million qualifying offer to Pablo Sandoval on Monday, ensuring they’ll at least receive draft pick compensation if he signs with another club.
But the hope remains that the team can come to terms with their clutch-hitting third baseman on a multiyear contract. Those negotiations will take place on the open market, since the Giants’ window of exclusivity closes Monday at 9 p.m. PST and club officials did not anticipate any last-minute dealings.
Sandoval’s camp turned down a three-year, $40 million offer in the spring, and at the time, sought to use Hunter Pence’s five-year, $90 million deal as a floor in talks. There have been no substantive conversations between Sandoval’s agents and the team since that time.
Sandoval’s price most certainly shoots up now that he can negotiate on a relatively thin open market where demand far outweighs supply.
The qualifying offer was procedural and Sandoval is certain to decline it before the Nov. 10 deadline. In two years under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, all 22 free agents that have been extended a qualifying offer have declined it.
The one-year offer does not preclude the Giants from discussing a multiyear deal with Sandoval. It merely guarantees them a draft pick at the end of the first round if the popular Panda signs with another team.
The Giants did not extend a qualifying offer to three other free agents: Ryan Vogelsong, Sergio Romo and Michael Morse. One more free agent, Jake Peavy, couldn't be extended an offer because he was acquired in July.
Although he hit just .279/.324/.415, and for all the consternation regarding his conditioning, Sandoval made himself into a Gold Glove finalist at third base this season and he continued to come up big when it mattered most. He has a .344 batting average in the postseason and hit .366 this October with six doubles, five RBIs and 12 runs scored in 17 games. His 26 hits this month established a major league record for one postseason, passing up the previous record of 25 held by Marquis Grissom and Darin Erstad.
In 12 career World Series games, Sandoval is batting .426 with four doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs and nine runs scored. He didn’t crush three home runs this time, like he did in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series on the way to MVP honors, but he reached safely in all four plate appearances Wednesday – including three times when leading off an inning -- and scored two of the Giants’ three runs.
The Boston Red Sox are heavily rumored to be interested in Sandoval and could be more comfortable to offer him a lengthier deal because he could serve as a designated hitter down the line.