On Monday morning, it was announced that Giants third-baseman Pablo Sandoval has signed a 5-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. So comes to an end San Francisco’s relationship to the All-Star (two times) who was part of a team that won three championships over five years.
Newly a free agent, Sandoval had been considering a $90m 5-year contract with the Giants, but countered with a negotiation for 7 years. When that couldn’t be fulfilled, Sandoval (along with his agent) began looking elsewhere. The rumor mills started after an in-Boston meeting last week. Shortly after, we’ve learned that the Venezuelan right-hander (and sometimes left-hander) has landed a 5-year deal worth nearly $100m.
Naturally, there has been a good deal of vitriol online in response to the move. Forget the fact that fans ought to be used to the comings and goings of players, or even that the cross-pollination of baseball personnel makes the game entirely more interesting and exciting in the long-run – I think the Giants lucked out on this one. Sandoval probably (and hopefully) has another great season or two in him…but I think we’ll look back on his career and know that we had him at the peak of his game. Spending another hundred million probably might not be the best investment for a team that DOESN’T have the second-highest budget in the MLB.
So instead of lamenting the departure, let’s celebrate his time in San Francisco. Watching him develop from a 16-year old international free agent in 2002 into a home-grown World Series MVP has been a textbook baseball success story. Fans will remember his stellar showing in the 2012 World Series, when he became the first player in history to hit three consecutive home runs against the Tigers in his first three at-bats. He was the fourth baseball player to hit three home runs in a single World Series game, which adds to a list along with Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols. His overall post-season average is a whopping .366.
And here’s Sandoval’s official goodbye, straight from his Instagram account…
To the greatest fans in San Francisco! Leaving the #SFGiants & this city I love is the most difficult decision I have ever made. I have grown up w/you, laughed & cried w/you & you have blessed me w your support, friendship & love. It has been an unforgettable @SFGiants career, a great run & 3 World Series championships in 5 yrs w/great teammates, coaches, front office & fans. I will always remember you w love & my heart will always be in #SF.
We’ll miss you, Kung Fu Panda…best of luck in Boston!