I’m not a huge fan of hashtags (sorry, Colin), but today gave us a chance to dust off “#scandoval,” an old favorite of Giants Twitter. That made-up word was created in 2011 to describe Pablo Sandoval’s behavior, back when he was a cuddly 24-year-old who had a habit of sending interesting late-night messages to young women. He was known then as @pandoval48. He deleted his account, later reemerging as @KFP48 and blocking just about everyone who ever posted anything with #scandoval attached.
Today gave Red Sox Nation a chance to see that the Panda has a little bit of dog in him, as Sandoval was benched for one game after John Farrell and Ben Cherington (and everyone else who follows baseball) found out he was checking out a woman (diva_legacy) on Instagram. It’s against MLB rules to use one’s mobile phone during games, starting 30 minutes before first pitch, although that’s a relatively easy rule to get around since MLB isn’t checking phone records. (As for the Cardinals, who knows — they probably have access to Jose Altuve’s texts, photos and voicemails.) But Sandoval, not exactly the brightest bear in the zoo, left a pretty easy trail to spot.
Not to blow up the dude’s spot, but uh…is Pablo Sandoval on Instagram during the game? pic.twitter.com/q8X4HoFDOT
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) June 18, 2015
Sandoval’s spot was blown. As a result, Boston’s $95 million third baseman had his tail between his legs.
“I know I f—ed up,” Sandoval said Thursday. “I made a mistake [Wednesday], I learned from that. I’m a human being, I made a mistake, so I apologize to my teammates, to the team, to the organization, the fans support.
“This is a thing that I pushed the [‘like’] button at the wrong time. I hit a ‘like.’ I was in the bathroom, I pushed it at the wrong time. … I just grabbed my phone, and checked it.”
Ah yes, the “I’m a human being” defense. Hey, who hasn’t been caught hitting “like” on a lady’s photos during a bathroom break while your team is up to bat?
The Giants’ dumb luck
Maybe the Giants’ pursuit of Sandoval was done with the knowledge that there was no chance he’d re-sign, and the interest was only for show. But from what the Giants and Sandoval have said publicly, San Francisco was ready to beat Boston’s offer.
As it turns out, the Giants’ failure is looking like a massive success. Offensively, Sandoval’s numbers are pretty much in line with what he produced in the previous two seasons.
- 2013: .278/.341/.417
- 2014: .279/.324/.415
- 2015: .270/.323/.409
However, he was supposed to be a monster in Fenway, peppering line drives off its big green wall in left field. He was known as a plus-defender in recent years, even getting some Gold Glove talk around here in 2014. Sandoval has already committed nine errors this season, including a couple important ninth inning miscues during Red Sox losses. If you don’t trust official scorers to determine who plays their position well, his range and UZR are currently at career lows. Since Boston is in last place in the AL East (nine games behind Tampa Bay), and they already have a fairly established, popular and expensive DH in David Ortiz, Red Sox fans are getting restless.
Don’t worry, Sox fans — we only have to pay Sandoval $18m a year until 2019 and then we’re free! (Except for a $5m buyout in 2020.) — Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) May 31, 2015
All that, and we haven’t even mentioned his weight or that other hashtag.
The Giants’ offseason wasn’t blemish-free. Despite Mike Morse’s struggles (.211/.268/.289, on the DL with a finger injury) making it appear as if the Giants cut bait with the right guys, the Giants have had somewhat mixed results with the players they did re-sign (Sergio Romo, Ryan Vogelsong and Jake Peavy). And as good as the Nori Aoki addition looks, trading for a guy who has more double plays grounded into (14) than walks (10) or runs batted in (11) only gets overlooked because Matt Duffy has been such a pleasant surprise at third base.
There were a lot of people who thought the Giants’ biggest Winter mistake was letting Sandoval go (or pushing him out of town with Sabean’s negotiating style in March) and replacing him with Casey McGehee, since Sandoval is a 28-year-old third baseman who’s enjoyed some good seasons and a lot of postseason success. Yet with those comments he made to Scott Miller, and those other comments he made to Amy Gutierrez, and the timing of those social media overtures he made to diva_legacy, it’s evident that Sandoval doesn’t have the maturity to handle a contract in the upper eight figures provided by a team in a media market where the scrutiny is only going to get more intense.