Pablo Sandoval played six successful seasons for the San Francisco Giants. During the seven seasons, they won three World Series. In the Series of 2012, he hit three home runs in game 1 and was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Series. He was affectionately known as the “Panda”.
In his seven years he did have injuries lessening the number of games he played in 2011 and 2012. However, he always played in more than 100 games. Twice he had to enter off-season weight loss programs. While with the Giants, the team told the hotels to not deliver room service to his room. Despite this, for seven years, he was an offensive leader with the Giants. He averaged batting over .280 with 17 Home Runs and 74 RBIs per year.
For his first three seasons he never made more than $500,000. During his last three seasons the Giants paid him $3.2, $5.7 and $8.25 million. He became a free agent in 2015.
THE BIG DAY
The Boston Red Sox won the bidding and signed him to a 5 year $95 million. Sandoval’s weight problems resurfaced. At times his weight bordered on 300 pounds. His performance suffered, making people wonder if he actually ate himself out of baseball.
His first season with Boston, Sandoval played in 126 games. He batted a career low of .245 with only 10 Home Runs and 47 RBIs. In 2016 he went on the disabled list on April 13 with a shoulder strain. On May 3 he had surgery on his shoulder. He did not play the rest of the season and ended the year with only 6 at bats.
Entering his third season with the Red Sox, there was a lot of pressure on Sandoval to start to justify his contract. In 2017, after 108 at bats, Sandoval was batting .212. In June he went on the disabled list with an inner ear infection. By July 19, the Red Sox realized that Sandoval was never going to be the batter that they believed. They released him on July 19. This meant the Red Sox would pay the final three years of his contract. It seems like the “Panda” looked more like “Winnie the Pooh ” searching for food and snacks after the big contract was signed.
For $95 million, the Red Sox received a batter who played in 161 games. He batted 575 times and got a total of 136 hits. This was a.234 batting average. He hit 14 Home Runs with 59 RBIs.
AFTER THE LOVE IS GONE
The Giants signed him for the minimum salary (Red Sox had to pay the rest). Despite their hopes, Sandoval never came close to being the player he was prior to the big contract. In 2017 he played 47 games with the Giants batting .227. In 2018 and 2019, Sandoval batted .248 and .268 for the Giants. He hit 9 and 14 home runs. In the shortened 2020 season, Sandoval hit .220 with 1 Home Run before he was released. His current height and weight are listed at 5’10 and 268 pounds.
In summary Pablo Sandoval was a major offensive producer for the Giants in his 6 full seasons. He was a World Series MVP and a World Champion three times. He was rewarded with a huge contract from the Boston Red Sox but never performed at a productive level the rest of his career. $95 million can buy a lot, but for the Red Sox it did not get a good baseball player.