San Francisco Giants & Pablo Sandoval: More things change-more they stay the same
By Mark ONeill
The more things change for the San Francisco Giants, the more they stay the same. Whether the Giants retain Pablo Sandoval, or not, the team will continue to experience success, because the organization is built upon one of the strongest foundations in the business, that of continuity.
Nothing creates upheaval in an established venture more than change, especially at the top. A new general manger comes on board and he brings his own agenda with him, accompanied by fresh faces, a bright outlook, and a new attitude. The hope is, eternally, that something good will happen. Maybe. Hopefully. The same can be said for a new manager.
The Giants do not have this problem and that is specifically why they will continue to perform at the highest level. All eyes in the baseball world see the continued success of the Giants, with their exquisite ballpark, designed to attract not only pitching, but defensive specialists. The only category of player not particularly interested in the diamond by the cove, is the big bomber, the guy whose main claim to fame is hitting home runs.
The 2014 San Francisco Giants are much different from the 2010 version, which featured a set of self-described cast-offs and misfits, in that the current lineup is comprised primarily of home-developed products, the core of which is signed to long-term contracts.
The Giants are a known commodity in the baseball world: Good news travels fast.
But Giants fans can expect that, because Brian Sabean has been at the helm for seventeen seasons, even if Pablo is not signed, the Orange and Black vessel will steam forward with great success, because no one player outside of the battery ofBuster Posey
, has so much impact as to be able to knock it off its course, even Pablo Sandoval.
If he leaves, which San Francisco Giants are best suited to replace Pablo Sandoval at third base?
Photo Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Do not misunderstand what is being implied. Pablo Sandoval received a qualifying offer of 15.3 million dollars, which he will undoubtedly refuse, and the bidding war will be on. The Giants did not offer the same option to any of the other Giants without contracts, only the Panda. Having proven that he is the most clutch player a team could ask for in the postseason, retaining Sandoval’s services should be a top priority. He is a charismatic individual, certainly one-of-a-kind.
But he is also has weight issues and has had several stints on the disabled list. His age (28) makes him still attractive, but by the third season or so, one has to wonder if the Panda will still be as agile, if he can not maintain his svelte figure. Many believe that there is sufficient motivation on the part of Pablo to keep in shape, but for Sabean, that belief translates into dollars and cents, a lot of them. Can he take that chance? Besides, there is the delicate matter of freedom of choice; the Panda may choose to play elsewhere.
So what happens if Sabean refuses to pony up with 100 million dollars, plus, which everyone knows the Boston Red Sox are pleased to pay, simply because last place did not sit all that well with them, not after tasting champagne in 2013? Outbidding Boston is not unfathomable, just hazardous.
What will happen? There will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth-until the season starts, and fans see that the player replacing Pablo Sandoval, no matter who he is, will still be asked to do only one-ninth of the job, not a third, or even a fifth. That means that the team will have to tweak the chemistry beaker, add a little of this and a tad of that, and move on.
Bruce Bochy, about to start his ninth season managing in San Francisco, will run the show, while Dave Righetti, Ron Wotus, Tim Flannery and the rest of the excellent coaching staff will continue to function as a unit, providing the same on-field expertise that has resulted in three World Series titles in five years. And oh yeah, the Giants still have Buster and MadBum.
Whether Sabean brings in Chase Headley or someone else from the scarce free agent market, or develops from within, remains to be seen. Regardless, not only will the Giants survive, they will continue to thrive. Being a Giant is not about cents, so much as sense.
You don’t want to be a Giant? Fine. There are plenty of others who do, ones who are looking to play for a championship team. If Giants fans must say good-bye to the Panda, because he chooses to go elsewhere, then so be it. Everyone wishes him well, until he shows up in Dodger Blue.
Besides, I heard Matt Duffy can play third base.
Aug 8, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants second basemen Matt Duffy (50) chases down a ground ball against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports