Pablo Sandoval: Thank You for the Memories, but Good Riddance

San Francisco Giants fans’ case of the Mondays might have gotten a little worse yesterday morning when they saw Pablo Sandoval‘s comments about his decision to sign with the Boston Red Sox over the Giants.

In an interview with Scott Miller of Bleacher Report, Sandoval revealed his true feelings about his former team and his former teammates.

Here are some of his quotes from the interview:

Leaving the Giants?

“Not hard at all,” Pablo Sandoval told Bleacher Report during an early-morning conversation here the other day. “If you want me around, you make the effort to push and get me back.”

The Giants did not make that effort, Sandoval said, reiterating that last spring’s aborted talks for a contract extension in San Francisco were pretty much the end of the line.

“I knew early in spring training last year I was going to leave,” Sandoval said. “They didn’t respect my agent. Contract talks, everything. The way Brian Sabean (Giants general manager) talked to my agent.”

All of this explains, he says, why he rebuffed the Giants’ late charge to keep him in November. By then, he says, it was too late. Even with October echoes still fresh in the air.

“The Giants made a good offer, but I didn’t want to take it,” he said. “I got five years (and $95 million) from Boston. I left money on the table in San Francisco.

“It is not about money. It is about how you treat the player.”

“Only Bochy,” Sandoval said of Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “I love Boch. He’s like my dad. He’s the only guy that I miss. And Hunter Pence. Just those guys.

“But now, I feel like I’m home.”

Sandoval’s statements, at least about the contract negotiations and wanting to go to a new team, shouldn’t be that surprising. It was pretty clear once the 2014 season was over that Sandoval wanted a change of scenery, and he would probably end up with a team, like the Red Sox, where he could be the star and where he wouldn’t have to compete for the spotlight anymore with players like Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Madison Bumgarner.

However, there are a few of his statements though that are a little surprising, confusing, and even frustrating.

First of all, it seems unlikely that it was truly “not hard at all” for Sandoval to leave the Giants. No matter what resentment or anger he had built up over the course of the 2014 season, he did win three World Series titles in just five seasons with the Giants. That is a rare feat for any MLB player, and this kind of statement makes Sandoval appear somewhat ungrateful and thoughtless.

It doesn’t make sense that a big transition from the Giants, the team that drafted him, to the Red Sox and from the NL to the AL would be completely easy. Again, no matter what resentment he built up, Sandoval accumulated plenty of unforgettable memories with the Giants, so the fact that it was “not hard at all” to leave is hard to understand and somewhat annoying.

Second, it’s understandable that the inability to reach a contract extension with the Giants prior to the 2014 season irritated Sandoval. However, it’s somewhat surprising that he had truly decided during Spring Training last year that he wanted to leave the Giants after the 2014 season.

Not only is it surprising, but it also shows that Sandoval lied about his interest in coming back to the Giants. For example, at the Giants’ World Series Parade on Halloween last year, Sandoval publicly said that he wanted to be a Giant for life:

“I want to wear that jersey for the rest of my career,” Sandoval said. “I’m going to go from what my heart tells me.”

“I’d love to be back here, I love the fans, I love my teammates,” Sandoval said. “They taught me a lot of things, to respect the game and play the game right.”

Things can always change, and perhaps he did actually change his mind. However, he made it clear in the interview with Bleacher Report yesterday that he had already made up his mind in Spring Training.

Sandoval seems to have either lied or at least heavily sugar coated the situation (at the parade). It would’ve been more professional for Sandoval to say that he had a lot to consider, that he’d make a decision soon, and that he just wanted to enjoy the parade at that moment. That would’ve been admirable and acceptable. Lying about it though is inconsiderate and, again, ungrateful.

Next, Sandoval claims that he was “disrespected” and wasn’t treated well by the Giants during the contract extension talks that took place in last year’s Spring Training. Brian Sabean can certainly be overly honest and somewhat abrasive at times and fans don’t know Sabean behind the scenes, but it’s hard to believe that the Giants’ front office, including Larry Baer, would be disrespectful and didn’t appreciate Sandoval’s contributions.

In addition, Sandoval was worshipped by the fans, his teammates loved him, and he was seen as one of the best and most important players on the team. Again, fans don’t get access to the behind-the-scenes discussions between players and the front office and fans don’t see everything that happens off the field, but it’s hard to believe that Sandoval was, in fact, disrespected by anyone in a top-notch, classy organization like the Giants and that it was bad enough that he had to flee the scene.

Lastly, it’s incredibly surprising that Sandoval said that he only misses Bruce Bochy and Pence and that he doesn’t miss anyone else from the team. Sandoval wasn’t necessarily close to every single player on the team, which is normal and to be expected, but that comment is very close to or possibly beyond the intersection of rude and unprofessional.

Sandoval was always perceived as a great teammate who was always positive and fully supported all of his teammates. Perhaps that perception was an illusion and wasn’t in fact reality. Or perhaps Sandoval has changed. No matter what it is, it’s hard for a Giants fan to see Sandoval show little to no respect for his former team and teammates.

Alex Pavlovic of Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, who has covered the Giants for several seasons now, was also surprised by this comment:

Personally, I wasn’t surprised by what he said about the contract negotiations, but I was a little surprised that he made it so clear that he only misses two guys in that room. Pablo had his detractors, but I can think of a few guys down there who are going to be upset when they read the quote about the clubhouse.

During his tenure with the Giants, Sandoval was always a fun-loving player full of heart, kindness, and positivity. It’s hard to see him say these things. In fact, he even seems like a different person.

Perhaps the failed contract negotiations truly changed him as a person, or maybe Sandoval’s need to be in the spotlight truly clouded his vision and caused him to lose his gratitude. Not only did Sandoval probably make his move to Boston because he wanted to be the star of a team, but he wanted to spurn the Giants, get as far away from them as possible, and not have to face them often.

If Sandoval truly wanted to leave the Giants after three World Series titles and several touching memories, then that’s his decision. Sandoval was a great Giant, and fans will fondly remember him for his clutch hits, his fun personality, and his contributions to the Giants’ recent success. However, Giants fans are starting to see a different side of Sandoval.

The Giants might miss Sandoval’s production this season, but maybe Giants fans will miss him less off the field, if he truly has changed and if he’s truly ungrateful. If that’s in fact true, then good riddance.