World Series MVP and Champion Could Make a Difference at Third for the Padres. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The biggest obstacle of course in signing Pablo is that his own team will probably do whatever they can to keep him. After all, he just helped them win their 3rd World Series in 5 years and one of the only position players besides Buster Posey who has been consistent that whole time. On top that, he is often overweight to start the season but finishes it out strong before really coming alive in the playoffs. For a team like the Padres, that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006, they may not have the luxury to just ‘wait for the playoffs’ to see a marquee signing come alive.
However, as mentioned in the introduction, one thing the Padres need to do is make a statement with their free agent signings. As the Fox announcers pointed out, Pablo winked at the cameras before coming to the plate in Game 7 of the World Series. The Giants were down, but he sparked a rally that would lead to their eventual victory and championship. That my friends is called swagger. Right now, the Padres lack that swagger. Or at least the play to back up the swagger. Playoff success may not be able to be statistically defined – but you also can’t erase this man has put up in the playoffs. In 2010, he was the World Series MVP hitting .529 with 3 HR in one game. In 2014, he hit .429 with 4 RBI. Started it out with a wink. A wink that says he has been there before – knows he can do it – and then goes out and does it.
One concern of course would be his weight. It seems like every year he comes to spring training and weighs more than he is supposed to. Yet, despite those concerns, it hasn’t stopped him from performing. The last two seasons he has averaged about 150 games, hitting .278 and 15 home runs. If he signs a long-term deal (which he deserves), the worry would be of course his motivation to stay in shape. The Dodgers can tell you there is a fine line between “chubby and good” to “overweight and a bust” after their disastrous signing of Andruw Jones.
Again, the Padres have seen Sandoval up close a lot, and it is always surprising just how nimble he is a third place. No one deserved to make the final out than him of the World Series, as his defense is often overlooked as a big part of his attribute to a team.
Overall, I like signing Sandoval over Hanley, but think the Giants themselves will do all they can to keep him in a Giants uniform. After all, according to their schedule another World Series Championship is only two years away.