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Padres rumors: San Diego is scouting Pablo Sandoval

Could the Kung Fu Panda be headed back to the NL West?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Padres are taking a "close look" at Pablo Sandoval. Despite a horrible 2015 season, and a similarly disappointing 2016 spring training, San Diego might still be interested in adding Sandoval to their 25-man roster.

As of today, Yangervis Solarte is their opening day third baseman, and while he had a solid 2015 campaign, he's never flashed the potential that Sandoval has. While it's unclear if the Padres are planning on making an offer to the Red Sox, it's worth noting that Boston was connected to San Diego in their pursuit of a starting pitcher.

"The Padres have been open to trading veteran starter James Shields, who also has a big contract, in the right type of deal. The Red Sox and Orioles have been both linked to Shields, who went 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA last season and allowed a major league-high 33 homers.

Shields is also working on a streak of nine straight 200-inning seasons, the longest active one now that Mark Buehrle has retired."

If we assume that Shields doesn't use his opt-out, and his current contract remains in tact, he's owed $65 million through the 2018 season; and Sandoval is owed $77.4 million through 2019. It's fair to wonder if a straight-swap of both players would work, however Cafardo notes that "the Padres would probably want a prospect in a deal for Shields since they're trying to rebuild.

The start of the 2016 regular season is quickly approaching, but there still seems to be a significant amount of trade talk throughout the league. A.J. Preller pulled the trigger on a trade for Craig Kimbrel on opening day last season, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him make another last minute deal.