San Francisco Giants Should Just Say No to Pablo Sandoval

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 02: Pablo Sandoval
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 02: Pablo Sandoval /

Pablo Sandoval has been designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox and now wants to return to the San Francisco Giants, who should just say no.

The Pablo Sandoval rollercoaster took a sharp downward turn on Friday. The Boston Red Sox designated the third baseman for assignment just two and a half seasons into his five-year, $95 million contract signed after the 2014 season. The former San Francisco Giants’ All-Star battled through inconsistent play and injuries during his tenure in Boston, and it seems to have come to a close much sooner than anyone could have anticipated back in the 2014-2015 offseason.

On Saturday, Sandoval seemed to have a change of heart. After having a lot of bad things to say about his former team heading into the 2015 season, Sandoval wants to return to San Francisco, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

In case a reminder is necessary, Sandoval was quite open in his feelings about the Giants back in 2015. In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller, Sandoval started by saying that leaving the Giants was “not hard at all”, and that he never planned to re-sign with the team after contract extension talks fell through in Spring Training 2014. When asked if he would miss anyone from San Francisco, he mentioned only Bruce Bochy (“he’s like my dad”) and Hunter Pence.

Things in Boston didn’t turn out to be great. He played in just 161 games since the 2015 season started, with 126 of those contests coming during his first year. A number of injuries limited his playing time, including a shoulder injury that cost him all but three games in 2016.

When he was on the field, he just wasn’t the impact player he wasn’t supposed to be for Boston. He hit .237/.286/.360 with only 14 home runs and a 71 OPS+. Defensively, Sandoval committed 21 errors as a third baseman and was worth -18 defensive runs saved at the position after being a Gold Glove finalist in his last year with the Giants. Overall, Sandoval was a -2.6 WAR player in Boston and his legacy in a Red Sox uniform will likely be him breaking his belt during a swing.

And now, he wants to return to the team with which it all started. He enjoyed a strong career with the Giants that spanned seven seasons, and was a big part of two World Series champion teams. He hit .294/.346/.465 with 106 home runs and 192 doubles, and was beloved every night by a stadium full of people, many of whom wore Panda hats for the affectionately-named “Kung-Fu Panda”. His playing career in San Francisco alone should leave him as a no-doubt entry into the team’s Wall of Fame in the future.

Right now, the Giants seem to be in position to give a player like Sandoval a chance. They are playing for nothing but pride at this point in the season, and Sandoval would come cheap. If any team signs Sandoval, they would only be on the hook for the pro-rated major league minimum with Boston still paying out the big, guaranteed deal.

It wouldn’t be all that dissimilar from the Sam Dyson deal the Giants made back in June. They picked up a struggling player with a good track record in hopes of rekindling some of that lost magic, and it’s worked out well for the team. Dyson had success more recently than Sandoval, but it’s not all that different.

Instead, the big difference is that Dyson doesn’t have history with San Francisco, and he never bashed basically the entire organization. Dyson was just a pitcher who went through a rough patch and needed a change of scenery.

If Mark Melancon changing the team’s stretching routine rubbed some people the wrong way (which is still pretty hard to believe), how much friction would a Sandoval reunion cause? Sure, things might be okay with Bochy and Pence, but what about Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Matt Cain, and other players who were around for the initial Sandoval tenure?

They might be able to soothe any tension, give each other a hug and a handshake and move on. But what if they can’t? It would make an already rocky situation for a team in last place even rockier, and that’s a risk the team doesn’t need to take on.

Bochy basically brushed off the rumors on Saturday, saying that even though he “think[s] the world of Pablo” and that he was “like [a] son” to him, Sandoval has “enough to live on” and will be “fine”. That’s the attitude the entire team should have. They should appreciate what Sandoval did while wearing the orange and black, but realize that he burned those bridges back in 2015. Sandoval didn’t want to be a Giant when things were going his way, but now that he’s no longer on top of the world, his previous sentiments shouldn’t be forgotten.

The Giants have a third baseman right now, with Eduardo Nunez playing as a showcase before the trade deadline. Even if he does get dealt, there are plenty of options the team can use before a Sandoval reunion should be considered. Jae-gyun Hwang has only 34 at-bats as a big leaguer, and should be given a shot to prove if he can be a long-term option in the MLB. Christian Arroyo probably won’t be back in enough time to make an impact this year after suffering a broken hand, and Ryder Jones is also recovering from being hit on the wrist by a pitch. Both are young, and if time allows, need at-bats to get their feet wet in the big leagues and show what they have.

Next: Giants Set Rotation for Second Half

No matter what Smash Mouth says, a reunion with Sandoval just shouldn’t be in the cards. There are better options, and Sandoval has already made his feelings clear. It’s not easy to cross bridges that have already been burnt.