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Pablo Sandoval returned a year ago today

We have not adequately celebrated it.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s the date Pablo Sandoval officially re-signed with the Giants after he was designated for assignment by the Red Sox, cleared waivers, and then outright released. You might recall that upon his return, he had to issue an apology for statements he made after leaving the team.

“If I meant that I missed Bochy and Hunter, it’s the guys I’d been joking around with most,” Sandoval said. “Hunter is like my brother and Bochy is like my dad. But at the end of the day, I missed all the guys. I missed all the team. The fan support is the greatest.”

It seemed like just another painful part of a 2017 season the Giants just had to get through. That we all just... had to endure. His first official at bat with the Giants in this second stint wouldn’t be until August 5th, but it was the last game of the season where he finally made his mark:

His line with the Red Sox was .237 / .297 / .360 and broke down as:

161 games
620 PA
575 AB
53 runs
136 hits
27 doubles
1 triple
14 home runs
59 RBI
34 BB
101 K
17 HBP
1 SH
3 SF

Since returning to the Giants, he’s posted the following:

132 games
405 PA
372 AB
38 runs scored
89 hits
17 doubles
14 home runs
56 RBI
27 walks
78 strikeouts
3 SF
.239 / .294 / .398

Admittedly, that’s bad. But, in his initial 7 seasons with the Giants, those totals were 869 games played, 3,533 plate appearances (3,215 at bats), 398 runs scored, 946 hits, 192 doubles, 19 triples, 106 home runs, 462 RBI, 258 walks, 464 strikeouts, 41 sacrifice flies, 17 hit by pitches.

Those average out to:

505 PA
459 AB
57 runs
135 hits
27 doubles
15 home runs
66 RBI
37 walks
66 strikeouts
7 sac flies
.294 / .346 / .465

His 2018 line of .250 / .316 / .415 is better and a little bit closer to his career averages with the Giants (though, certainly, reflective of his age & skill decline). This makes me wonder:

Did the Giants and Pablo Sandoval create a public feud in order to get another team to bid high on him in the offseason so that he could sign with them and then force that team to cut him so that he could rejoin the Giants?

I don’t know why Pablo Sandoval would agree to go along with the Giants’ plan to avoid paying him free agent bucks, but if they did generate this elaborate ruse, it worked out perfectly.

The Giants let Pablo Sandoval walk because they didn’t like the person he’d become, essentially, and he was the absolute worst version of himself in Boston to the point that Boston cut him. Then the Giants re-signed him and the Red Sox have continued to pay for his career average performance with his original team.

He was also a key factor in the Giants drafting Joey Bart, whose home run power might actually save the franchise. And, of course, don’t forget about his glorious inning of relief pitching.

Say what you want about the Giants since Pablo Sandoval left originally, this is a helluva story. We’ve been looking for “the next Ryan Vogelsong”, well, here it is... just in an extremely compressed space of time and with far less glamorous results.

Welcome back, Pablo, and thanks for all the memories, old and new.