Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Pablo Sandoval apologizes for the way he left San Francisco

24 Comments

Though third baseman Pablo Sandoval won three World Series rings with the Giants in 2010, ’12’, and ’14, he still left San Francisco on a sour note. After the 2014 season, he signed a five-year, $95 million contract with the Red Sox. He turned down a deal in the same neighborhood from the Giants.

Sandoval told Bleacher Report in March 2015 that it was “not hard at all” to leave the Giants, adding, “If you want me around, you make the effort to push and get me back.”

Sandoval said, “I knew early in spring training last year that I was going to leave. They didn’t respect my agent. Contract talks, everything. The way Brian Sabean talked to my agent.”

Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with anybody in San Francisco. Sandoval’s decision, though, worked out for the Giants as the Red Sox were on the hook for all of that money while he struggled. As a member of the Red Sox over parts of three seasons, he hit .237/.286/.360. He was a lightning rod for criticism, particularly concerning his weight, and the team made it a point to help him lose weight. The Red Sox released him last month and the Giants signed him shortly thereafter, assigning him to Triple-A Sacramento.

Sandoval didn’t exactly hit the cover off the ball at Triple-A, but with the Giants selling some parts at the deadline (including Eduardo Nunez), a roster spot opened up for him and he got the call back to the majors. He still hasn’t hit much, but he did slug a game-tying solo home run off of Max Scherzer in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 11-inning, 6-2 loss to the Nationals.

Today, Sandoval has a column up at The Players’ Tribune titled, “Back Where I Belong.” In it, he apologizes for the way he handled his exit from San Francisco. In it, he writes:

Before I continue, I want to take a moment to apologize to the Giants and to the fans. I know I already have, and I probably will again, but I don’t think I can apologize enough for the way I left — for some of the things I said. I said things I didn’t have to say. Things I don’t want to repeat. Things I didn’t mean. I was just so emotional when I left San Francisco, and I didn’t handle it the right way.

I made a mistake.

I’m very sorry.

The first thing that stands out to me is that this seems like a genuine apology. He doesn’t say, “I’m sorry that some people were offended” or “I’m sorry some people misinterpreted what I meant” like a lot of people have done in the past to avoid having to take actual ownership of poor behavior. Sandoval didn’t have to apologize, and he could’ve certainly done so in a way that saved him more face. It takes guts to put yourself out there like that.

Now for the cynicism. Sandoval’s major league career is on thin ice. He’s still not producing after two and a half years of not producing for the Red Sox. He has a .634 OPS on the season. To add to that, he’s an aging player with below-average defense who can realistically only play two positions, both of which typically require a solid bat. Sandoval’s on-field production isn’t likely to land him a job in the future, but everyone likes a redemption story, so one wonders if this is his angle to try to prolong his career. As Craig pointed out on Twitter, players have been using The Players’ Tribune as a “transparent PR vehicle.” It’s not wrong at all for Sandoval to try to rebuild his image, but knowing this adds context to what he said.

Robin Ventura, other familiar names come up in Mets managerial search

Getty Images
5 Comments

Terry Collins is still the manager of the New York Mets, but all signs point to that state of affairs ending some time soon after Sunday afternoon. To that end, the New York Post reports a handful of familiar names being mentioned in connection with their impending managerial search:

Early persons of interest, according to industry sources, all have ties to the organization: Robin Ventura, Alex Cora and Kevin Long. Two others with ties to the organization — Bob Geren and Chip Hale — are also in the conversation, according to sources.

By the way: can we talk about how great it is that a term that is normally associated with criminal suspects — “persons of interest” — is being used in connection with potential future New York Mets managers? OK, we just talked about it.

These names, with the exception of Cora, all belong to former managers with Mets connections. Hale was the Mets third base coach and was passed over for the managerial gig when Collins was hired and eventually managed the Diamondbacks. Ventura, of course, played for the Mets for three seasons before retiring and becoming the White Sox’ manager. Geren was the Mets bench coach when they won the 2015 pennant but moved to the Dodgers to be closer to his family in California. He’s formally a manager with the Oakland A’s. Cora played a season and change with the Mets and has served as the bench coach for the Astros in the 2017 season.

In the recent past, as recently-retired players with little or no coaching or managerial experience were hired to manage teams, some people may have referred to these candidates as “retreads.” With Dusty Baker’s success in Washington after a few years of semi-retirement and with a number of inexperienced managers showing that they were not all that they were cracked up to be, however, the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward looking for experienced candidates.

Obviously the whole offseason will determine if I’m imagining that or if it does, in fact, becomes the trend. And, of course, the Mets actually have to formally let Collins go before hiring someone else. Not that I would put it past them to mess that up.

Pete Mackanin doesn’t know if he’ll be back as Phillies manager next year

Getty Images
3 Comments

Back in May the Phillies gave Pete Mackanin a contract extension covering the remainder of 2017, all of 2018 and created a team option for 2019. Yesterday, however, Mackanin said he had no idea if the Phillies were going to bring him back as manager next season:

“I assume I’ll be here, but you never know. You never know what they’re going to do. So you just keep moving on. I just take it a day at a time and manage the way I think I should manage and handle players the way I think I should handle them. That’s all I can do. If it’s not good enough then … fine. I hope it’s good enough. I hope he thinks it’s good enough.”

Maybe that’s just cautious talk, though, as there doesn’t seem to be any signals coming from the Phillies front office that Mackanin is in trouble. If anything things have looked up in the second half of the season with the callups of Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams each of whom have shown that they belong in the bigs. The team is 33-37 since the All-Star break and is certainly a better team now than the one Mackanin started with in April. And it’s not his fault that they don’t have any pitching.

I suspect Mackanin will be back next year, but Mackanin has been around the block enough times to know that nothing is guaranteed for a big league manager. Even one under contract.