The Giants will reportedly re-sign Pablo Sandoval on Friday, and even though one source with the Giants says it’s not 100% a done deal, and Sandoval has also said that he hasn’t chosen a team yet, it seems like it’s basically a done deal. Instead of betting on the future, the Giants are looking towards the past; instead of marketing the heck out of some Ty Blach buffalo merchandise (Blachalo! Think it over, Giants, and give me 10% of the proceeds!), they’re going to sell all those panda hats they’ve got in the back of their warehouse.
The natural question at this point isn’t “What are the Giants doing?” We know what the Giants are doing. They’re throwing panda feces at the wall and seeing if it sticks. The question is “Why stop there?” Whatever the team is banking on with Sandoval, whether it’s his familiarity with the team or the fan base’s nostalgia, he’s certainly not coming back because he’s a good baseball player. In just 508 PAs in 2015, Sandoval was worth -2 fWAR, and just to be clear with words here, that’s negative two, meaning Rando Minor Leaguer would have made the Red Sox two wins better in 2015 than Sandoval did. Last year, in just seven plate appearances before getting hurt, he was worth -0.2, and this year in 108, he’s been worth -0.4, which over a full season would put him at right about -2 again.
The dude is bad at baseball now, and also he’s not going to have a lot of friends in the clubhouse after the way he left, and also part of the reason he left was because he thought it was disrespectful for the Giants to put weight clauses in his contract so it’s not like his work ethic is unquestionable and also he’s just kind of a skeevy dude. So basically there’s no reason at all to make this move.
On the other hand, maybe the Giants are just giving up. Maybe they’re done pretending to be a major league team that makes major league caliber decisions. Maybe their new marketing slogan is just going to be, “Count the rings, numbnuts!” If so, this is a good first step to living in Nostalgiaville, but it’s certainly not the last step. If this is the new Giants ethos, then they need to bring everyone back. Everyone.
Re-sign Tim Lincecum. People like him! Cody Ross was an instructor in Spring Training this year, so just throw him on the roster and give him a couple starts. Who knows what Edgar Renteria is doing right now? Who cares? Sign the man. Pat Burrell? Sure. Brian Wilson? Hey, remember how he was trying to be a knuckleballer this year? Give him a shot in the majors! Aubrey Huff can take a break from hosting a radio show or not hosting a radio show or whatever he’s doing to play some more baseball. Can Marco Scutaro’s back hold up to playing one major league inning? Only one way to find out! He can talk about it with Freddy Sanchez, who also will hopefully not decompose on the diamond. Bring back Zito to pitch against the Cardinals, bring back Jonathan Sanchez to hit against the Padres, and bring back Xavier Nady to ... okay, maybe that’s the line. Trade the Dodgers some cash for Sergio Romo, trade retirement some cash for Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez, bring back Vogey because nothing brings them out like a Vogey start, man, and get Travis Ishikawa back too.
Here’s what I’m saying: if you’re going to make moves based on nostalgia instead of the realities of 2017, don’t half-ass it. Go all out, get the band back together, and let them all be terrible on the field. At this point, there is literally no reason not to.