Veteran Pablo Sandoval has returned to the San Francisco Giants on a minor league deal. That news makes things seem a little less bleak for the upcoming season.
It looked like the days of Panda wearing orange and black might be over when the 2019 season came to a close.
Turns out, he’s coming back!
The sad fact of the matter is that this may be the most exciting news of the offseason for the Giants.
I know the phrases “2020 San Francisco Giants” and “fun” seem to mix like oil and water. If you add a pinch of the Panda and maybe a dash of a shimmying Johnny Cueto to the equation, you’re still about to eat a burnt casserole, but at least you’ll get to watch an episode of The Simpsons while eating it.
Sandoval’s character arc from beloved franchise centerpiece to not-so-loved Boston Red Sox flop to loved once again in San Francisco is truly a remarkable one.
He will always be a legend in San Francisco for his starring in role during the 2012 and 2014 title runs, as well as the supporting role he played in 2010. There won’t be any boos or jeers ringing down from the rafters if he has a cold streak. He feels at home in San Francisco, and that is most likely why he chose to return.
Of course, with Bruce Bochy no longer in the manager’s seat, he will have to adjust to Gabe Kapler. That said, something tells me that Sandoval’s bubbly and energetic personality will make the transition seamless.
Aside from his on-field performance, which was strong last season as he hit .268/.313/.507 for a 114 OPS+ with 23 doubles and 14 home runs 296 plat appearances, he’s also an invaluable asset in the clubhouse for a rebuilding team.
When the team slumps, and they will slump, perhaps his smile and laugh will be just what guys on the team need to pick them up.
He was signed to a minor league deal, so his spot on the team is not 100% secure, but he fits well as a switch-hitting bench option who can quite literally play all nine positions.
First things first, he will need to prove he’s healthy after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early September.
For now, all that matters is that Pablo Sandoval is back and 2020 looks a little less dark as a result.