The San Francisco Giants have signed Pablo Sandoval to a three-year, $17.15 million contract, which will finish off all of his arbitration eligible years. With Tim Lincecum asking for more money than anyone except Roger Clemens in arbitration, the news about Sandoval is more than welcome for the Giants.
The Kung Fu Panda was vastly improved in 2011 after losing 40 pounds in the offseason. His .315 batting average and 23 home runs were a bright spot for the Giants in an otherwise abysmal offensive year. He also spent a month on the DL.
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Back and healthy as ever, the 25-year-old will be in the heart of the Giants lineup for at least three more years. If he can stay healthy and in shape, he could be in the running for MVP.
This is amazing considering that after the 2010 season the Giants threatened to send Sandoval to the minors if he didn’t get his act together and get in shape. In the Giants World Series year, Sandoval was forced to watch most of the magic from the bench. His weight was an issue, and it was affecting him at the plate. Sandoval answered the call in 2011, though, and the Giants have rewarded him.
The Giants made the right decision signing Sandoval to this deal. With a lot of players still needing new deals, including Lincecum and Matt Cain next year, this frees up a little money while also showing that the Ginats are commited to holding on to players who can have an impact at the plate. It also ensures they have someone to get on base in front of Buster Posey for the next three years.
Sandoval made vast improvements at third base in 2011, as well. He looked like the Kung Fu Panda with his cat-like reflexes, snagging everything that came his way. On the season, he had a .966 fielding percentage with only 10 errors. Sandoval also made his first appearance in the All-Star game, a game he should be playing in for years to come.
People are starting to take notice of the Panda and the skills he possesses. The Giants obviously are seeing that, too, and want him to be a part of this team’s future.