Every Giants player has had his share of struggles this year (yes, even Buster Posey str..."/> Every Giants player has had his share of struggles this year (yes, even Buster Posey str..."/> Every Giants player has had his share of struggles this year (yes, even Buster Posey str..."/>

SF Giants Baseball: What Should the Giants Do With Pablo Sandoval?

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Every Giants player has had his share of struggles this year (yes, even Buster Posey struggled for a week right before the All-Star break). But no Giants hitter has struggled as much as Pablo Sandoval is struggling now.

Sandoval’s been pressing at the plate and underperforming in the field, as he desperately tries to make routine plays. Sandoval hasn’t been able to make any defensive play look easy, and he has been terrible in the field. His weight has been a problem, and it’s been a huge factor in his lack of power and poor batting average.

The Kung Fu Panda may have to go back to “Camp Panda” this offseason. He has frustrated Giants fans frequently with his abundance of strikeouts, lack of hustle and terrible defense. On Monday, he failed to run out a double-play grounder he easily should’ve beat, and he made a two-run error. Without those mistakes, San Francisco would’ve probably won the game.

Pablo was benched in the Giants’ series finale against the Rockies, and he deserved it. Sandoval hasn’t hit a home run in over two months, and his last bomb was before the All-Star break. He’s been knocking in some runs, but Sandoval has been unable to go deep.

Joaquin Arias, who has always been known as a utility player, has a .279 batting average (entering Wednesday’s game against the Rockies), which is better than Sandoval’s. Brandon Crawford has done well recently, and he and Arias are perfectly capable of both starting. Until Sandoval stops pressing, he will be benched.

Both Arias and Crawford made plays on defense and drove in runs in San Francisco’s 8-3 win over the Rockies on Wednesday. Both picked up the slack, and Arias was fine hitting in the five-hole. He didn’t ground into any double plays, and he actually helped his team.

Crawford has been fine hitting against lefties (even though he is a lefty), and Arias has dominated against lefties. The next three pitchers the Giants will face are lefties, and five of their next six are as well. So, even though Sandoval is a switch-hitter, he should be benched in favor of Arias against the lefties, since Arias is much better against them.

If Arias outplays Sandoval and Crawford continues to produce against all kinds of pitchers, Bochy may have no choice but to bench Sandoval for some games and repeat 2010 all over again. Sandoval still has good stats and needs an opportunity to break out of his slump before the postseason, but if it really is his weight causing the slump, Sandoval has to be benched.

Arias and Crawford both did a great job in August. Crawford is streaky, but he has tons of potential. He hasn’t been in a heated playoff race, but Sandoval hasn’t been a key piece either. If they can do a three-way platoon, that would work. But, even though Giants fans have been loyal to the Kung Fu Panda, the smart ones have to admit that Sandoval is hurting the team right now.

You would think he learned from 2010, when he played a very small role in the Giants’ championship. But apparently he hasn’t. So, if Sandoval keeps slumping, Bochy will come to his senses and limit Sandoval’s playing time.

And that could mark the end of the Pablo Sandoval era…unless, of course, Camp Panda comes to the rescue.