San Francisco — The Red Sox are hoping to spend their way out of the AL East cellar with two big free agent signings.
The first team in major league history to go from worst to first and back again has agreed to terms third baseman Pablo Sandoval, his agent confirmed Monday night. According to a baseball official with knowledge of the deal, Boston also agreed to a deal with Hanley Ramirez, who came up to the major leagues with the Red Sox.
The official confirmed both agreements on the condition of anonymity because the players hadn't passed physicals. The Ramirez deal was expected to be finalized Tuesday.
The moves give the Red Sox a potent batting order that includes two of the last three World Series MVPs, Sandoval and David Ortiz. But they still have to replace the four starting pitchers they traded last summer.
Sandoval, 28, is a career .294 hitter who had 16 homers and 73 RBIs in the regular season this year and then hit .366 in the postseason while helping the Giants win their third World Series in five years. With his everyman body type and colorful nickname — Kung Fu Panda — the switch hitter was a fan favorite in the Bay Area.
"He has been with us through some of the greatest moments in San Francisco Giants history — including all three World Series championships," the Giants said in a statement. "We will never forget his World Series MVP performance in 2012 and his numerous contributions to the 2014 championship. His connection with Giants fans — young and old — is truly special, and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston."
Ramirez came up in the Red Sox system and was still a prospect when he was traded to the Florida Marlins in the deal that brought Josh Beckett and future World Series MVP Mike Lowell to Boston. The 30-year-old shortstop batted .300 with 13 homers and 71 RBIs for Los Angeles this year.
Boston already seems set at shortstop with 22-year-old Xander Bogaerts, and with Sandoval at third they are expected to move Ramirez to left field. He has never played outfield in the majors.
The moves give the Red Sox a surplus of outfielders, with Ramirez potentially joining Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr. Allen Craig, Mookie Betts and Daniel Nava. They are expected to shop some of the extras for pitching, which they have been lacking since dealing Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubrount near the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers.
Boston will not forfeit the No. 7 overall pick in June's amateur draft but will give up the second and third selections.