To call this year’s version of the San Francisco Giants bad does not even begin to scratch the surface of the insufferable level of atrocity surrounding the team.
Despite having retained the majority of last year’s core at the beginning of the season, the Giants find themselves out-tanking the San Diego Padres, a conglomerate of Rule 5 draft picks whose entire current 25-man roster is making less than Johnny Cueto.
Everyone outside of Buster Posey has severely underachieved. The bullpen? Bad. Starting rotation? Bad. Left field? A revolving door. Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford? Forgot how to hit. Madison Bumgarner? Dirtbike (translation: bad.)
As it stands, this team, which an overwhelming majority expected would make the postseason, has a record of 38-63. Should this pace continue, the 2017 Giants will have the franchise’s worst record since the team moved to San Francisco.
There is no light at the end of the tunnel and the only satisfaction this season will provide is at the end of the season’s final game when the suffering finally comes to a conclusion.
San Francisco’s journey through the desert to reach the oasis that is the offseason is far from over as the team just hit the century mark and still has 61 games left to play.
Throughout the team’s nightmare of a season, there have been countless moments in which the baseball Gods signaled to the Giants that this would not be the year the odd year curse breaks.
It could have been as early as when Bumgarner hit two (!) home runs on Opening Day and the Giants still lost. Or maybe Hunter Strickland fought Bryce Harper because the former couldn’t do his job. Or the countless injuries in between. All equally saddening and viable answers!
But San Francisco’s official declaration that it has given up on this season comes with the decision to bring back Pablo Sandoval on a minor league deal.
For anyone who has followed Sandoval since his days as a catcher, the name itself evokes countless nostalgia. The panda hats, his three home runs in game one of the 2012 World Series, Sandoval recording the final out of the 2014 World Series and everything else in between.
Yet for all the good Sandoval brought to the Giants’ organization, he sure as hell didn’t hesitate to burn bridges as he trashed the organization that helped mold him into a $90 million man on his way out the door.
As the dollars rolled in upon signing with the Boston Red Sox, so did Sandoval’s vendetta to trash the Giants in every way, shape and form. He alienated the front office. He alienated his teammates. By extension, he alienated the fans.
Desperate to rejuvenate a career catalyzed by his inability to control his weight and stay healthy, Sandoval came back to the organization as if absolutely nothing happened. And the Giants allowed him to rejoin the team as if nothing happened.
San Francisco’s decision to bring back Sandoval is nothing short of an embarrassment. The front office has given veterans second go-arounds with former players in the past, notably Conor Gillaspie and Michael Morse just this season, so the move shouldn’t come off as too much of a surprise and Sandoval wasn’t an exception to the rule despite his actions.
Sure, with Eduardo Núñez likely on the trade block and Christian Arroyo yet to prove himself capable of hitting major-league pitching, a low-risk project player with a history of success is worth a shot, but the move comes off as desperate. Instead of focusing on progression in the post-Pablo era, the Giants are backtracking and trying to rekindle a flame which went cold many moons ago.
San Francisco has officially waved the white flag on this season and their surrender comes in the form of a 255-pound panda donning orange and black.