Pablo Sandoval, just 30 years old, might be finished. The Red Sox designated him for assignment, and because there isn’t a team willing to take his contract, it’s almost certain that he’ll become a free agent.
Before you even think about asking it, I’ll answer your question: No. Those panda hats were donated to charity a long time ago, and I don’t think there are a lot of front-office types who are keen on a reunion.
This news bums me out, as I’m the kind of fan who remembers Pablo’s contributions to three World Series champions more than I remember his unceremonious departure. The Giants hadn’t developed an All-Star since Matt Williams, Sandoval came up and helped them win three titles, and for some reason, I can’t overlook that.
Also, when I write “for some reason,” I really mean, “because I’m normal and well-adjusted.”
What I’d like to do for a few minutes, then, is go down the alternate timeline of Sandoval re-signing with the Giants. You might be of the opinion that the Giants should be relieved, and that’s only logical. But I’m not so sure. Consider these points:
If Pablo re-signs, the Giants don’t trade Luis Castillo for Casey McGehee
Castillo is a right-handed rookie who throws a billion miles per hour and is striking out all of the batters for the Reds. He would be in the Giants’ rotation right now, and he would be just about the best part of the season, if not the unquestionably best part of the season.
If Pablo re-signs, Matt Duffy doesn’t take over the full-time job for at least another year
The Giants wouldn’t have ditched Pablo in the first year of a new deal. Oh, Duffy would have received some more time, but they couldn’t just ditch Sandoval the way they did with McGehee.
Which means that Duffy would have been a super-utility player, still something of a secret.
Which means that he wouldn’t have been valuable enough to deal for Matt Moore.
Which means that he’s still on the Giants, and Matt Moore isn’t.
I know that Duffy has been hurt for nearly a full calendar year, and he hasn’t done anything for the Rays, but he’s still cheap with the potential to be the player he was for the Giants. I would still welcome him back to the organization, all things being equal. Especially if that means the Giants still have Lucius Fox in the system.
If Pablo re-signs, the Giants don’t have money to spend on both Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija
Last year, that would have been a point in an article titled “Why it sure was a good thing that Sandoval didn’t sign with the Giants.” This year, I’m not so sure. Cueto is pitching poorly enough to where he might not actually opt out. Samardzija can’t stop allowing dingers, and it’s hard to feel good about the last three years of his contract, regardless of what his FIP is right now.
If the Giants have Sandoval on the payroll, that would mean they’d have a veteran on a big deal who wasn’t even performing up to the standards of a replacement player. Which ... well, join the club! It would make everyone else feel better that it wasn’t just them.
If Pablo re-signs, the Giants are probably in last place right now
So while it seemed obvious over the last three years that the Giants dodged a bullet, did they really? Sandoval’s absence cost them a pitching prospect who’s thriving, and it indirectly led to a flop of a trade in the middle of last season, as well as a pair of expensive deals that might tie them up worse than the other contract would have.
I’m not saying that I wish the Giants had re-signed Sandoval — it would have been irritating as all heck to watch him disintegrate, and I can do without the hot takes — but that I’m not sure the team is that much better off. In some ways, the poetry of the Giants’ melting season would have been more poignant with Sandoval circling the drain with them.
Mostly, though, I want Luis Castillo back, and I’m willing to give up Cueto and accept Sandoval’s contract to make it happen. Is there someone I can email? Probably Manfred. Suppose I’ll get started.