Pablo Sandoval Deserves the Same Big Bucks As Hunter Pence


 

 

 

 

March 5, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) hits an RBI single in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

March 5, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) hits an RBI single in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot of palaver about how deserving the San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence is of his hefty contract, but what ARE we going to do about Pablo Sandoval and his upcoming contractual demands?  Is The Panda justified in asking for a comparable salary as that of Pence?  Should the Giants invest in this charismatic, positive, beaming presence in its clubhouse?  Should they do it now?

 

That’s a lot of questions so early in the morning, while the clouds in your coffee are still swirling as much as the clouds inside your head, so I’ll slow down, focus on one question, and begin again.  Slowly.  There are actually two inquiries wrapped up in the same question: Does Pablo warrant the big bucks AND should the Giants pay it?

 

The answer to the first is emphatically yes!  The answer to the second one is, I haven’t got a clue.  Maybe you do, but not I.  The reason why Pablo is justified in demanding the mega-bucks is because the Giants are in the entertainment business, and The Panda is a master at the art.  He didn’t train for it; he doesn’t have to fake it, and he can’t be placed on the Celebrity Disabled List.  You can see The Panda’s beaming countenance from many different vantage points in the stadium, especially when the camera swings his way.

 

October 31, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Tony Bennet sings "I left my heart in San Francisco" in front of the San Francisco Giants team during the World Series victory celebration at City Hall. The Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep to win the 2012 World Series. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

October 31, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Tony Bennet sings “I left my heart in San Francisco” in front of the San Francisco Giants team during the World Series victory celebration at City Hall. The Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep to win the 2012 World Series. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Pablo Sandoval may not be the face of the Giants’ organization, Buster Posey having been granted that honor (deservingly), but I’m not 100% certain that Pablo is not the face the fans see, when they talk about the Giants.  Whereas Buster is reserved, serious and in his game mode most of the time,  Pablo is outgoing, bubbly and effervescent.  We want Buster in charge of our pitching staff, which is a full-time occupation, so it’s hard to picture him taking it lightly, “Ah, Shucks…ing” it up.  Definitively not Posey’s style.

 

Pablo, on the other hand, is that guy who always keeps his peers off-balance with his humor and his wit.  He’s high-fiving everyone in the dugout, including the bat-boy.  He’s fun to be around and he keeps things lively.  He’s the guy whose finger is on the pulse of the dugout, and he matches the tempo with his charisma.  In case you haven’t noticed, people like to identify with his magnetism, his personality, and his optimism.  The Panda makes people want to smile.

 

This isn't a pitcher of Guzman because USA Today doesn't have one, but here's a cute Panda hat outside of AT&T Park in San Francisco instead. ©H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

In order to properly pay homage to The Panda, you need a Panda hat, this one outside of AT&T Park in San Francisco. Hint: These are not handed out for free in front of AT&T Park…©H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

And the funny thing is, if Pablo is injured, the fans still show up in Panda regalia, thereby partly negating the argument that when Sandoval is injured, he is not bringing in the Almighty Buck.  This is exactly why he deserves to match paychecks with Hunter Pence.

 

“Pence played in 162 games last season,” point out many who wish to establish a viable connection in their argument that Pablo does not deserve the same type of contract.  They go on to say that the only thing Pablo did last season with that kind of regularity, is eat three substantial meals per day.  OK, that’s not fair; I don’t know how many meals Pablo eats per day.  It could have been four.  These same nay-sayers also remind us that Pablo couldn’t play in 162 games per season if his life depended on it, because he keeps getting injured.

As my friend Janice put it,  Pablo’s “not worth that amount [what Pence earns] unless he plays better than Pence, and we all doubt that.  Too many injuries…”  And in his piece the other morning, “Pablo Sandoval High Contract Demands,” my colleague here at Around the Foghorn, Chris Corbett wrote, “To say the contract that he [Pablo] is looking for is ridiculous would be an understatement.”

 

My response to those who believe Pence is more durable than Panda, is that they are correct, but it’s immaterial.  Pablo’s impact in the show business industry is undeniable; look around in the stands and see all of that Panda Accessorizing going on right in front of the cameras.  He is a marketing juggernaut who creates revenue by his presence.  Hunter Pence has better stats and has a different dietary approach than Pablo Sandoval, but the two differences have no bearing on the fact that both draw fans into the stands, the same stands that have been sold out for 246 consecutive games.  Just saying.

 

Hunter Pence before the game on 9/29/13. Photo by Denise Walos.

Hunter Pence before the game on 9/29/13. Photo by Denise Walos.

Both athletes are superb at what they do; both are deserving of the big bucks. It’s just a matter of whether the Giants can afford it or not.  Because if they decide they can’t afford him, there are plenty of other teams who can.  Maybe we should dangle Pablo as trade bait and see what happens.  All I have to say is, don’t you think he would look good in Pinstripes?  The New York Yankees are only one of many teams, I guarantee you, who will offer Pablo what he is demanding.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed The Panda doesn’t end up in D%*g$r Blue.

 

September 5, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) goes all out diving sideways for the ball, just as he goes all out in all of his endeavors.

September 5, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) goes all out diving sideways for the ball, just as he goes all out in all of his endeavors.

 

 

 

 

Tags: Hunter Pence Pablo Sandoval San Francisco Giants

  • Dave Edlund

    You bring up a to of great points for paying PANDA more than his recent offer from the Giants! I hope he stays as he can launch bombs into McCovey Cove like no other Giant. So I am biased and I will admit that!

    But I wish Panda was more predictable. If you look at his WAR performance, some years he plays like an ALL-STAR and other years he plays like a mere mortal. I do believe his performance is somewhat correlated with his fitness and because he is more fit this year, I expect another ALL-Star like year.

    I think the Giants organization must be careful about paying the Giants players based on how much fans love them. Tim Lincecum, a fan favorite is getting $17M this year when on a pure recent performance basis, he is not worth more than $10M. The last two years Lincecum (on average) was a below average ERA pitcher. This years Spring his performance would indicate he is still in the same general funk.

    I love the Giants, but the Giants strength as an organization is its MARKETING (and its promotions) and marketing tends to tell the org to overpay for past glory and not to invest in rising stars that are not well known yet.

    Praying we get the Panda!

    • Mark ONeill

      Thanks for the thoughtful response. The point you made in your last paragraph is key to the message of my article. Panda is worth the heftier salary but maybe not from the Giants. I am wary of signing Panda to any contract without an ironclad weight claude built in. If Pablo exceeds X pounds, then he sits-without pay. That’s only one issue, but if he kept his weight in check, the rest would be more apt to fall into place. I appreciate your input!

  • Nomisnala

    A key point for Pablo’s value is that he is not replaceable at his level at third. At least not this upcoming off season. As good as Pence is, he is a replaceable outfielder. If Pence had left, there was a chance for a decent replacement. The giants and the fans love Pence and so that is fine. Sandoval is a tough out, and there just is not anybody who could replace one of the best switch hitters of our time.