What should the Giants do with Pablo Sandoval?
Contract-wise, 2014 is his waddle year.
That’s mean-spirited, but Sandoval’s got it coming for putting fans, teammates and his bosses through the wringer, wondering if he’ll ever grow up and slim down.
Sandoval’s career arc bends the wrong way. In his first full season, he hit .330 with 25 homers. Last season: .278 with 14 homers.
Panda should be on a Hall of Fame track. He should be on an MVP track. He should be on a NordicTrack.
The Giants have fading hopes for their third baseman. His greatness has become a distant dream.
Sandoval is wintering back home in Venezuela. The Giants wanted him to hang around Arizona with the team’s diet and conditioning people. Blowing them off is either Panda’s way of escaping those fitness dictators or his way of taking off the training wheels and showing his new maturity and commitment to baseball.
Sandoval’s arrival at spring training will be like Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Panda. If he reports to camp fat, all bets are off, all hope is gone. If he comes in willowy, is that the New Panda or a con man in class-reunion shape?
– Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle
There are no professional basketball leagues in India, and no Indian has ever played in the NBA.
That doesn’t stop new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive from predicting his team will help make basketball a household word in the nation of 1.2 billion.
The Kings’ opening night victory – featuring cheerleaders in Indian costumes gyrating to Indian pop music – was shown live in India. “It was such a huge hit, now they’re asking us to broadcast 15 more games,” Ranadive said in an interview last week. Cricket will always be No. 1 in the hearts of Indian fans, he said, but “basketball can become a strong No. 2”
While the NBA is already working to grow the sport’s popularity in India, selling the Kings isn’t going to be a slam-dunk, either on the subcontinent or among the Sacramento area’s 42,550 Indian American residents, the region’s fastest-growing Asian ethnic group. Local Indian Americans interviewed said they take pride in Ranadive’s Indian roots and accomplishments as an MIT graduate and successful software executive. But few ever played – or even watched – basketball in India.
–Stephen Magagnini, Sacramento Bee
The Giants have money, they’re not trying to hide that, and why would they? Making loads of money is fun!
They also have a time-tested model for winning titles, and right now they have the clearest offseason focus I’ve ever seen from them.
Their fans might be calling for a new expensive big bat in left field, because Giants fans are always hungry for more offense.
But that’s not where general manager Brian Sabean is laser-targeted this offseason, and he was happy to explain it Tuesday after announcing the new, two-year, $23 million free agent deal for pitcher Tim Hudson.
“We’re trying to reshape our pitching staff,” Sabean said on a conference call when asked specifically about free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo but really addressing the entire Big Bat Theory.
“Until we do that and then take a step back, I’m not sure we’ll be involved in a big-time (hitter)… I guess the opinion of who’s out there and whether they’re big-time remains to be seen.
“But again we’re committed to the pitching first.”
Sabean also repeated that the Giants won’t be signing any free agent that would cause them to forfeit their first-round pick.
Don’t forget, Sabean said, that they built their 2010 and 2012 World Series championships largely on first-round picks Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner.
So, Giants fans, your realistic wish list should no longer include Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and any other top names who have received qualifying offers from their 2013 team.
–Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News