March 25, 2014 – Chad King
Horrible pun to start off an article, I know. Maybe it’s the three cups of coffee I’ve had this morning, or perhaps the ringing in my ears from all of the contact in Arizona off of Ryan Vogelsong is distracting.
Pablo Sandoval will be a free agent after this season. He’s lost weight and appears to be in the best shape of his MLB career. He wants to get paid at least what Hunter Pence is getting ($90 million for 5 years, that’s a lot of fast food).
Is he worth it?
To fully answer that question, you have to take into account many variables, which I’ve illustrated in a professional Venn diagram below:
Clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m sure I’ve hit on a few salient points. For one, we have no idea what kind of production he will have this year, and if the Giants don’t sign him to an extension before the season, his value may only skyrocket. In fact, it’s already high when you look at the pool of free agents in the coming off-season. Pablo, even with a mediocre, injury-filled season, will look like Kate Upton in zero gravity while the rest of the lot may look like an overweight plumber with pants that don’t quite fit. Sexist analogy aside, take a look at the upcoming free agent third basemen (current age in parentheses):
- Yuniesky Betancourt (33)
- Wilson Betemit (33)
- Alberto Callaspo (32)
- Eric Chavez (37)
- Jack Hannahan (35) – $4MM club option with a $2MM buyout
- Chase Headley (31)
- Casey McGehee (32)
- Donnie Murphy (32)
- Nick Punto (37) – $2.75MM club/vesting option with a $250k buyout
- Aramis Ramirez (37) – mutual option
- Hanley Ramirez (31)
- Pablo Sandoval (28)
- Ty Wigginton (37)
- Kevin Youkilis (36)
Yep, I think the Giants could save a ton of dough and plug in an Eric Chavez or Nick Punto for a steal. Can’t wait for those Punto chants at AT&T! I also don’t believe that Chase Headley and certainly not Hanley Ramirez, will go for anything less than what Pablo is demanding, anyway. With the lack of options, Giants will probably have to overpay him a bit, but even then, I think Pence’s contract is close to his market value, regardless. The Giants know how to over-pay, anyway (see: Tim Lincecum), but I don’t think a contract will blow up in their faces like a Zito turd.
Then, there’s the matter of length. I would feel more comfortable with a 3 year contract, but he wants 5. Understandable, of course. However, what if he locks in a guaranteed contract and gets comfortable again and slacks off the exercise and diet regimen. It’s happened before. Most likely he shaped up this year because it’s a walk year. Do you think he will be this skinny next year, regardless for whom he plays for? Probably not. What about three years from now? Will he exceed Prince Fielder-like proportions?
I’m skipping a few points here to get to the final one. The Dodgers could add by subtraction…oh, and just plain add, too. If they sign Pablo, they replace a crappy former Giant with better former Giant, continuing the trend of Ned Coletti’s ex-Giants reclamation project. They would further improve their corner defense and offensive production at the same time the Giants decline. And then, suddenly, we’d see blue panda hats everywhere.
People, I just realized that we can’t have that.
BTW, the TortureCast crew and special guests will be recording a special season preview at the Public House at AT&T Park on Sunday, March 30 at 6pm. Come by and say hi!