In releasing Sandoval, the Red Sox commit to paying the nearly $48 million remaining on the five-year, $95 million deal they inked with the third baseman in 2015. The move comes as the Sox look to upgrade at third base, though Sandoval hasn't started regularly since April.
Sandoval started 29 games at third base for Boston this year, with most of the remaining time split between Deven Marrero and Brock Holt, who was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Sunday after a bout of vertigo.
Now that trade target Todd Frazier has been acquired by the rival Yankees, Boston will seek other options to fill the void at third. The Red Sox have already scouted Mets infielders Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera and T.J. Rivera, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. Other potential targets, Heyman tweeted, include Jed Lowrie of the A's, the Padres' Yangervis Solarte and the Pirates' Josh Harrison.
After being shifted to second base from shortstop last month, Cabrera publicly requested a trade from the Mets. He has played just 1 1/3 innings at third in the Majors, during his 2007 rookie season. Rivera has been a pleasant surprise, hitting .292 with five homers and 25 RBIs and just 40 strikeouts in 192 at-bats. Flores has made just 48 starts, hitting .278 with seven homers and 25 RBIs, primarily off the bench.
Harrison presents intrigue because he's under contract for 2018, with two team options in '19 and '20, and offers defensive versatility, having made starts at third and in left field in addition to primary duties at second.
Solarte is currently on the Padres' 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique and likely won't return until the end of the month. In 71 games, he's hitting .268 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs. He could give Boston, which ranks 20th in extra-base hits (279) and 26th in homers (97), a needed power boost.
As could Lowrie, who has 39 extra-base hits, including 10 homers, and played for the Red Sox from 2008-11.