Well Giants fans, it's time to pull those Panda hats out of storage and dust them off, because the former fan favorite and club cornerstone is returning to the organization.
In a season where the Giants may very well lose 100 games after entering the year with legit playoff aspirations, you can bet that with the trade deadline just about a week out that changes should be on the horizon. On Saturday, the Giants made a move, but instead of dealing away one of their veterans, as many expect them to do, they brought back one of their former ones, finalizing a one-year deal with Pablo Sandoval on Saturday.
It's been a strange year for the San Francisco Giants, to say the least. They've fallen so far out of contention so early on in the season that it's now leaving them with months to experiment and try different things out for next year and beyond. Over the last few days, the bay area has been buzzing about the possible return of a former Giants' staple, Pablo Sandoval, who flamed out in Boston and was released by the Red Sox earlier in the week. With that being said, one may wonder how in the heck bringing back Pablo Sandoval fits any of that "rebuilding" philosophy, and that's a justified concern. However, if you take a look up and down this roster and see who the Giants are currently trotting out there on a daily basis, there aren't a whole bunch of prospects with potential big league futures being trotted out there, simply because most of them are banged up. Ideally, the Giants would like to give Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo third base to fight over for these last 10+ weeks of the season, but neither players is healthy. In those guys' absence, and Eduardo Nunez being moved around the diamond, Connor Gillaspie has sort of taken over third for the time being and he certainly isn't a guy who the Giants are looking at long term there.
That doesn't mean that the Giants are banking on Pablo regaining his San Francisco magic and working his way back to big league club by August and solidifying his spot in the lineup again, but stranger things have happened, and in a lost season, why in the hell not roll the dice on a guy who's still just 30 years old and wanted to come back here? There has been a lot said about some of the harsh things Pablo had to say about some of his fellow teammates after he left the Giants for the Red Sox, but he didn't disrespect anybody and if Pablo comes back and hits .300 with power (I know, a huge, unlikely if), those hard feelings should disappear pretty quickly.
All in all, I don't expect anything to materialize from this deal. I think Pablo will eventually return to the big league club, whether in August or September, and be given a few shots to see if he sticks and could be in the plans for 2018, but I think Pablo's best days are long behind him. It's a good, fun story in a season that's been void of positives, so all will be watching, but I definitely would not bet for him to be part of the Giants future plans. But, again, numbers cannot be denied and if he earns himself another shot and cashes in, he very well could factor back into the teams outline for the future, especially if Arroyo and Jones cannot get on the field to make their case down the stretch. Sandoval won't be blocking any younger player from getting major league playing time (because there all hurt right now) and worst case scenario is he flames out and moves on by the end of year. And again, who knows, maybe they catch lightening in a bottle and Pablo's career rebounds after a return home?
I just see the "potential" positive outweighing the negatives with this signing and would like to see Pablo back on the roster sooner than later. Eduardo Nunez is likely going to be dealt in the next few days (hopefully) and that will open yet another spot on the Giants roster in which Pablo could be ticketed for. However, once Jones and/or Arroyo are ready to roll, Pablo's gotta take a back seat. The only way this works is if he's not taking at-bats away from younger, potential future players.
This post first appeared on The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants B, please read the originial post: here