Saturday, July 22, 2017

Your 2017 Giants (maybe): El Gordo Sandoval Rotund to the Giants

As all the whispers and tweets have intimated, Pablo Sandoval has signed with the Giants on a minor league contract, after being dumped by the Red Sox, with one of the largest owed amounts left on a contract ever.  He will start off with San Jose to DH one game, then head over to AAA Sacramento to play 3B and DH as the Giants try to figure out what he has left.

The reports are that he is now healthy and slimmer (as always, it's all relate for him), and he was contrite in his return, apologizing to anyone and everyone in Giants Nation, though that last ball of the 2014 World Series apparently is not returning rightfully to the Giants (the rumor is that he sold the ball off).

ogc thoughts

Personally, I would not have pursued this.  Been there, done that.  And words have been said, words that apologies won't really salve and didn't for me.  Worse, the ball was not returned, he dissed the franchise and all the fans by reportedly selling it off to someone (perhaps a Royal's fan who burned it; who knows?  But he was pretty angry about the Giants back then, so I can see that happening).

That said, I am personally OK about his return, and don't think it's the bad move that some in the media and the fans have painted it.  Just because Gillaspie is younger does not mean that he's a better player than Sandoval.  Plus Nunez is probably traded, Hwang just got sent back down to AAA because he just hasn't adjusted to playing off the bench and spot starting, Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo are both injured by HBP, leaving only backups like Calixte and Tomlinson to play 3B.  Sandoval could be the replacement without hurting development if he shows anything in the minors.

And, yeah, it don't look good as far as PR goes to invite back with open arms a player who dissed the Giants so badly that not only the bridge is burned but so is the rest of the road back to the Giants.  But this is a no-lose situation for the Giants.

If he fails, he stays in the minors, don't cost us a 40-man prospect, nor that much money.   Only their dignity takes a hit.

If he plays well enough that the Giants could bring him up, he probably is only coming up if Nunez is gone, and a roster spot is then opened up on the 40-man, as he won't get us a close or great prospect, just an intriguing prospect with a few years to go, like we gave up when we traded for him.  He's not coming up unless he's starting, and I can't see the Giants dumping an interesting prospect for nothing if he's not starting.

If he starts for the Giants, and then fails or is just passable, that just makes a bad season worse. That's fine with me, I want to get as good a draft pick next season as possible, a Top 3 ideally, a Top 5 appears to be likely, at worse a Top 10 pick (though that would disappoint me greatly, at this point, I really want a Top 3 pick).

If he starts for the Giants and hits like he used to hit for us, that's found money, and hopefully the Giants can sign him for the next season.  If he can keep his weight down and hit the way he can hit, he's worth the money we would have to pay him, which would not be much for 2018 and maybe 2019 too because of how bad he was with Boston.  Other teams will either think that he's only good with the Giants or that he was only lucky, and not bother to try signing him on the cheap for 2018.  He'll have to prove he's back over a year to get other teams to take strong interest in signing him up for bigger money than the vet minimum, and that pushes it out to at least 2019.

And at this point, I'm only worried about 2018, and there is not a lot that says that 2018 will be that much better than 2017 right now, we need a lot to go good for us to have sufficient hope that 2018 is better.  There are a lot of "ifs" involved with us competing for the playoffs in 2018.

Summing up, having a Sandoval who can hit like he did before is a great value to have on our team for 2018, as he won't cost much but would contribute a lot.  Having a Sandoval who hit like he did for the Red Sox is a great value to have for getting our team that Top 3 2018 Draft pick.

I understand how some fans can be so passionate about this.   But being a GM requires decision makers to be like investors, very dispassionate about decision making.  And if one is focused on what makes the Giants better in 2018, then the move makes sense, as it is a no-lose situation, no matter what Sandoval does.

I personally would not have signed him (and that's the emotional side of me), and I will admit that I was going to write a post stating, "No Mas, Por Favor".  But now that he's here, I can see the various benefits of having him around (dispassionate side), I won't let my emotions blind me any further as to the merits of the situation.   I know that I'm not always right about the Giants moves.

And this is probably the right move for the Giants, given all the benefits I listed above, and I can live with the decision without making a hissy fit, as some have done (particularly one media type who seems to love to take digs at the Giants all the time, most probably because he's followed the A's for so many decades, it is like he's on their payroll;  or maybe it's the Stockholm Syndrome).   It will certainly be more interesting to follow than how the team has been playing this season.


  1. Gillespie is not younger than Sandavol. Your worried about falling to a number 10 pick. Have you been watching this year?

    1. Apologies if that is wrong, I was reacting to a media writer's assertion that he is younger, that makes his statement even more asinine.

      Yes, I have been watching. If you have been watching, the Giants since this Golden era began with Posey and Bumgarner has never tanked any season. If you read my other post, I was not happy that the Giants tried to end a season on a good note, once Pagan returned from DL, and finished out of the top ten. So I expect them to try.

      Plus, this is still mostly the same team that was leading the division at ASB last season, what if they started to figure things out now and played up to that ceiling? So, yes, I have been watching, they have days where they look that good, but mostly weeks of looking terrible, but if they start figuring stuff out, they could move out of prime draft pick position, which I see as out of top five, to clarify my stance, and we are not that far from reaching there with some winning.

    2. Apparently you are wrong, Gillaspie is a year younger than Sandoval.

      Still makes the sports writer's assertion asinine, Gillaspie is past that age were he might suddenly bloom and become a starter, especially at 3B, his defense was never that good and Pablo, even when too fat was defensively good at third, it was only when he let himself go that he was bad defensively.

      Then we can start about what each has produced offensively in their careers, both minors and majors, and then it is not even close. Pablo only looks bad in the last few years, and it cost them nothing to see what he has left in the tank, and maybe they end up letting him go, but he's only 30, and he can play fat, just not too fat, so I can see why the Giants chose to sign him.

      Again, not the move I would make, but I can see why the Giants chose to.

      Sure, it is a sign of desperation to hope for a good outcome here, but as the commenter noted, have you seen this season? It reeks of desperation now. It's a train wreck of epic proportions, which I would put on Bumgarners shoulders, sure, we started off bad, but his stupid injuries was a gut punch that put the team on the mat, out of sorts for a long time, incapable of coming back.

  2. My concern is his taking ABs away from younger prospects. I understand he's only DHing right now. But I'd rather 100% of those swings went to a player with a future, not one with just a past.

    And there are players in the minors I'd move past, too. My basic rule of thumb is if you're not in the majors by 25, maybe 26, you're never going to amount to much in the majors even if you get there. So why are the Giants parking these duds in AAA and AA instead of being more aggressive with younger players?

    I mean, we've got guys in their very late 20s and early 30s down there... Ryan Lollis, bless his organizational player heart, is never going to be an MLB player. Sandoval has shown himself to be irresponsible and unreliable, plus has gone to **** as a player. Williamson can't hit at the major league or even AAA level in way that gives me any confidence he's a solution to anything.

    And so it goes...

    1. I agree to a point. But our main 3B prospects are both on the DL, Ryder and Arroyo, so only Hwang is not seeing starting time. We do not have a lot of prospects I would say have a future.

      Another consideration for the minor leagues is that you don't want your best prospects to get used to losing all the time. You want them to play to some level of team excellence, otherwise, when they come up, they might be beaten down psychologically by then.

      In addition, no team goes through a season without injuries. If all you have are prospects in varying stages of development, your team could blow a winnable season by having to bring up a, for example, Bocock type player. So you stock your AAA and AA teams with players who might be able to come up and help you tread water while your main player is out.

      So it is a balance between nurturing and developing your young prospects with a future, while having enough spare parts in the minors that you can go to when you need help.

      Also, I would not say that 25-26 is the age you give up on prospects. If so, then the Reds would have given up on Homer Bailey too soon. I would say that is the age when the prospect is not going to be a good starter for you, but there are many players that blossom in their late 20's into very useful players, like a Blanco, a Casilla, even a Torres. That's another reason to be kicking the tires of prospects in that age range.

      Sandoval, at most, will probably get 50-ish PA's to show what he got. And he already got about 10 of them in A-ball, where there's no way he's taking away development time from any hot 3B prospect, especially since he DHed in a start. If anything, he's giving the young guy a breather, as the prospect is probably not in shape enough yet to last a full minor league season without some level of fatigue.

      Williamson I'm not sure of. Has shown some good, has shown some weaknesses, has shown a propensity to get injured, that dampens his numbers as well. And power sometimes comes into bloom in their late 20's, that's where a lot of prospects Beane used to chase would suddenly blossom.

    2. Forgot to mention, the Baggarly article noting Beede's groin injury also noted all the other prospect injuries, another reason to have older guys around, to fill out the team, else you just have a lot of young guys overwhelmed and you kill their development and confidence.

  3. Its a low risk as far as cot. We will get to see our prospects either way. He once, not to far in the past was a decent positive WAR player. Its worth a shot. Lincecum's career fell apart and he was not obese. It happens. We gave Timmy a chance, now its time to give Pablo a chance at a very low cost. It is a business.

    1. Thanks for the comment. That's a great point, it is a business.

      I can see a retort to that is that developing prospects is a part of the business as well. It's the ying-yang pull on the management of a baseball team. The management has to weigh the likelihood that a prospect will develop against the odds that they can coax good production out of the aging and recently stumbling veteran who had produced before.

      The good news is that the Giants have been successful in doing that. People like to point out Uggla and others, but, for me, I don't look at failures as a negative (unless you are unbending and unyielding, a perfectionist), there will be failures.

      The key thing is whether the Giants are finding the people they need from kissing a lot of frogs, and how long it takes them to evaluate whether that vet has anything left. Given how fast Uggla was cycled in and out, I don't see what the issue was, it was not like he stayed the season before he was let go.

      It's kind of like the ethos in development and tech today: fail fast.

      And for me, the successes outweigh the failures over the recent years: Burrell, Huff, Franchez, Scutaro, Morse, Peavy, could even include Hudson in there, as he suffered that bad ankle injury the season before he signed with us. They all provided key production when we needed it.

      However, we have not been getting this recently, particularly since Evans took over as GM. He will need to up his record in this regard.

      And for Sandoval, the question has never been about his baseball abilities, but his ability to not get so fat that it interferes with his baseball abilities. When he can't hit right-handed, that generally has been an issue with his weight. That also affected his fielding.

      If he can get his weight down enough, he could supply a lot of WAR via his defense. And, being a bad ball hitter, if he can get his weight out of the way, he could hit as well as field.

      The good news is that the Giants have signed him to a minor league contract for 2017 with options for 2018 and 2019 (rest of Boston contract) at the minimum MLB vet salary, so its up to him if he wants to be a major leaguer again.

      And as much as his behavior was abhorrent to fans like me, sometimes in management you need to find a way to be able get your employees to work with people they don't particularly like, but hopefully can respect enough to accept his return.

      And at worse, if he returns to MLB goodness, and the teammates don't care for him, we should be able to trade him off, it's a cheap contract, and if he can produce anything positive, that would still be worth it for some teams.



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