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San Francisco Giants: pay Pablo Sandoval’s asking price

By Mark ONeill
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The price of Pablo Sandoval, the San Francisco Giants’ charismatic third baseman, also known as The Panda, just went up, and I’m here to tell you that is a good thing. Sandoval provided the double that scored Joe Panik in the ninth inning of Saturday night’s game in Washington, a run that extended the contest into the eighteenth inning, when Brandon Belt harperized a ball into the stratosphere, much the way that Bryce Harper had done on Friday night.

Because he is a free agent at the close of the season, Pablo has elevated the price of poker when it comes to signing him, by hitting his pivotal double and tying up the score. Saturday’s game, the longest in the history of MLB postseason, was also one of the most memorable, and Sandoval will be forever remembered as the player who delivered the most crucial hit of all, because without his, there is no second chance to “belt” one out.

I cannot ponder the Panda vacating the building without two indelible images looming over me: one is Pablo hitting the first of three home runs into the San Francisco night, against the great Justin Verlander, a feat that not only sealed the fate of that game, but arguably, the fate of the series.

The second image is that of Pablo in Dodger Blue. Shudder. Juan Uribe is eerie enough, after seeing how much he contributed to the 2010 season, without having to think about facing Pablo Sandoval nineteen times each season, representing the arch-enemy Dodgers.

It still makes me shudder a little bit. You too?

Sandoval’s statement in that world series opener in San Francisco was unprecedented, and set the stage for the ultimate sweep of the 2012 World Series. For that alone Sandoval has earned the contract he desires. Add to that accomplishment, his most recent coup Saturday night, and any other clutch hits that are about to be delivered, and I think you see where I am going with this.

Pay the Panda more than he is asking for, and pay him with a smile. The Giants are going to have to spend big bucks to replace him anyway, and no one can provide the clutch-hitting on the big stage the way Sandoval does. So the Giants need to pounce first and cage the Panda once and for all, and sign him to the five-year contract that he is asking for.

The Giants must realize that they stand to regain a goodly amount of money simply by continuing to market the Panda and all of his accoutrements, and they must realize what an integral part of the success of the current team he is. 

And most importantly, the Giants must recognize how good Sandoval would look in Dodger Blue. Hitting home runs against the Giants. In the playoffs.

Pay the Panda and do it with a smile.

Sep 6, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) in the dugout before the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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