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Panda by the pound: 245 things to know about* Pablo Sandoval

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*mostly about the Panda. 245 things is a lot of things, after all. One thing it's not? A random number.

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Let's do this
Let's do this
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

No time for chatting, let's get into it.

  1. His full name is Pablo Emilio Juan Pedro Sandoval, Jr.


  2. He was born August 11, 1986.


  3. He is a Leo.


  4. His is 5'11" tall.


  5. He weighs 245 pounds.


  6. His nickname is Kung Fu Panda.


  7. Barry Zito gave him the nickname in 2008 after watching him jump over Dodgers catcher Danny Ardoin.


  8. His Twitter handle is @KFP48. It is hard not to think of Kenny Fucking Powers.


  9. He’s a switch-hitter.


  10. He's better from the left side.


  11. He hit three home runs in a World Series game in 2012.


  12. They were all from the left side:


  13. He was the MVP of that World Series, boasting a .500 average in the sweep of Detroit.


  14. He attributed his success that year to the self-help book "The Secret."


  15. "The Secret" encourages visualizing one's goals. His were, per the items or sayings attached to a bulletin board, to have a "nice career," to get into the "Hall of Fame," to own a private jet and earn a $100 million contract.


  16. His contract for the Red Sox is for 5 years, $95 million, with an $17 million team option for a sixth year.


  17. At $19 million per year, his contract is the second most valuable on the Red Sox on a per-year basis.


  18. He is second only to Hanley Ramirez, the Sox' other new addition, whose 4-year, $88 million contract has a $22 million annual value.


  19. Sandoval hit .330 in 2009, his first full year in the majors.


  20. He was second only to Ramirez, who won the batting title at .342.


  21. He is excited to play with Ramirez.

    Welcome to the team I can't wait to be in spring training with my boy @davidortiz and @hanleyramirez13 let's roll @redsox

    Een foto die is geplaatst door Pablo sandoval (@kfp48) op


  22. He is a two-time All-Star (2011 and 2012).


  23. He won something called the MLBPAA Heart & Hustle award in 2009.


  24. He did not win it again in 2010, but his MLB player page says he did, if you click on 'Bio.'


  25. He can play third base, first base, and catcher, one suspects, in an emergency.


  26. (He starter his career at catcher.)

  27. He’s leaving a pitcher’s park for a hitter's park.


  28. His favorite player growing up was Omar Vizquel.


  29. He is a natural lefty.


  30. He taught himself to throw right-handed at age nine so he could play shortstop like Vizquel, his idol.


  31. He and Vizquel were teammates on the Giants, which is awesome.


  32. He still throws right-handed, the way he taught himself.


  33. That is also awesome, and amazing for any player in the major leagues, let alone a catcher/third basemen.


  34. He seems like the refraction of good-athletes-turned-pitchers like Tim Wakefield, Dontrelle Willis, Zack Greinke, C.C. Sabathia (to an extent) Rick Ankiel (obviously), Mike Hampton, and a long host of others, those who were great whatever part of the game they chose to play, and chose the mound.


  35. Now he is the 'Mound:' B-R lists 'Round Mound of Pound' as a secondary nickname.


  36. His weight probably pushed him to catcher at an early enough age, but I'll bet he was the best 10-year-old pitcher around.


  37. It is not nice to talk about someone's weight this much, probably.


  38. Here is him on an MTV panel with Fat Joe:



  39. Pandas are basically vegetarians.


  40. They are vegetarians because they lost the gene giving them the ability to eat meat at some point during the evolutionary process.


  41. Google will suggest "Pablo Sandoval vegetarian" if you type "Pablo Sandoval v"


  42. This is almost certainly because Prince FIelder briefly claimed to be a vegetarian, and people are confusing them.


  43. Prince Fielder is probably not a vegetarian.


  44. Pablo Sandoval is probably not a vegetarian.


  45. Both are considerably slimmer than he was earlier in his career.


  46. Sandoval showed up in Spring Training at 262 pounds in 2010, leading the AP, of all outlets, to write an article about it, which now everyone does all the time.


  47. He is currently listed at 245 points, and looks stronger than he does round.


  48. It is not nice to talk about someone's weight this much, I think.


  49. It is possible that he stopped eating his mother's lasagna, his favorite food:


  50. He is from Puerto Cabello, Carabobo, Venezuela.


  51. Puerto Cabello is the biggest port in the country.


  52. "Cabello" means "Hair."


  53. Per Wikipedia, "The Spaniards took to saying that the sea was so calm there that a ship could be secured to the dock by tying it with a single hair."


  54. It was long subject to attacks by buccaneers.


  55. It was the last Spanish loyalist town to fall in Venezuela's fight for independence, in 1823.


  56. As Venezuela's largest port, a considerable amount of oil is shipped from there.


  57. It is 75 between Puerto Carabobo and Caracas, the capitol.


  58. It’s roughly 1900 miles between Boston and Caracas.


  59. It’s about 3400 miles from Caracas to San Francisco.


  60. Home is home. A few hours on a plane can matter.


  61. Or maybe, like groug at McCovey Chronicles wrote, he "decided he really liked old churches, so he signed with Boston."


  62. At his introductory press conference, he said he wanted a "new challenge."


  63. "I need to lead that team," he continued, "with the legacy they have here, the fan support they have here."


  64. "That's why I had to make sure that I made the right decision," he added. "It took me a long time."


  65. Mostly, he seems specifically excited to play with Ramirez and David Ortiz.



  66. His best year was 2011, when he was 24.

  67. He hit .315/.352/.552 in 466 plate appearances.


  68. He had 23 homers,


  69. 70 runs batted in,


  70. 26 doubles,


  71. 3 triples,


  72. 32 walks,


  73. 63 strikeouts,


  74. and 2 stolen bases.


  75. He had 6.1 Wins Above Replacement.


  76. He finished 17th in the MVP race.


  77. He did it all for $500,000.


  78. He has earned a total of $18.5 million in his career, less than the $19 million annual value of his new deal.


  79. He'll make $7.6 million more to play in Boston than he would have to stay in San Francisco, where he was beloved.


  80. And likely still is.


  81. Here's an official statement from the Giants: "His connection with Giants fans – young and old – is truly special and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston."


  82. And here's Grant Brisbee, McCovey Chronicles: "If you can't remember the feeling of 2008, you should probably sit this one out. It was hopeless, and then there was Pablo."


  83. John Shea, SFGate: "The way the man maneuvered around the diamond despite his overflowing physique — wow. How he swung at seemingly unhittable pitches and often got hits — wow. Ranging far to his left or right, hitting the deck and getting up to throw a strike to first base — wow. That energy, passion and star power, especially in October — wow, wow and wow."


  84. Shea: "Pablo Sandoval will be missed on so many levels, a face of three championship teams and a body that only a mother and Giants fan could love."


  85. Other fans aren't mad. They're disappointed.





  86. But not everyone was amused:


  87. Fair enough.


  88. The Red Sox seemed excited:


  89. FanGraphs’ Eno Sarris isn’t sure it was a great deal: "If you focus on his age and overall production so far, the reported near-$100 million that the Red Sox are handing Pablo Sandoval for his next five years are reasonable. He’s a young man with an established bat at a scarce position. But if you focus instead on some of the aspects of his production, things look a little different. They look a little scarier."


  90. Basically, he says things don’t look great because Sandoval is large and oft-injured.


  91. These things are true.


  92. Sarris's boss, Dave Cameron, called Sandoval "a bit of a unique free agent, as you can argue that he’s either lower risk (due to age) or higher risk (due to body type), depending on which one you one put more stock in."


  93. The Red Sox likely believe in the age part.


  94. They were the oldest team in the league last year.


  95. With teams like the Astros gaming and breaking the contract system to the point of blackmailing their minor league players to get team-friendly deals, contracts like Sandoval's seem old-school, even if they're more or less standard operating procedure for a team with Boston's resources.


  96. Whatever else you can say about the Panda and Hanley Ramirez contract, the Red Sox bought solid, talented baseball players in the primes of their careers.


  97. Isn’t this exactly what they need?


  98. The editor of this site, Marc_Normandin, tempers expectations: "Sandoval owns a career 123 OPS+, and has spent his entire big-league run with the Giants in a cavernous, pitcher-friendly home park. While his power might not go up a whole lot in Boston -- the switch-hitter will spend most of his time on the left side of the plate, which isn't as friendly at Fenway as the right -- his average will probably shoot up thanks to the Monster in left.


  99. @OverThe Monster himself, Ben Buchanan, is even more pessimistic: "Pablo Sandoval is a good player, but a surprising amount of his value is wrapped up in his ability to play third given his size. His bat is simply not good enough to justify anywhere near his likely price if he's playing first base or, even worse, DH. If Pablo Sandoval is not playing third base, he's not really earning his spot on the team."


  100. I disagree, because I believe the Red Sox are as capable of building from the middle out as they are from the top down.


  101. With so much young talent, and the pitchers set to command premium prices in dollars or talent, there's every reason to pay sticker price for prime talent if you can, right?


  102. Yeah, they might not work out, but they're not expensive enough to regret, provided they play regularly.


  103. Even J.D. Drew worked out.


  104. If they add these two players and re-add Jon Lester -- which all signs point toward them doing -- isn’t this like when the 2009 Yankees signed C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira?


  105. Or in Boston terms, like the summer of the Celtics’ Big Three?


  106. Both of those teams won the title the following year.


  107. I'm just saying. 


  108. Grantland’s Jonah Keri calls the contract a "high risk, high reward" deal for the Sox."


  109. He is more worried about Ramirez than he is about Sandoval.


  110. He is a little worried about Sandoval's health.


  111. He is ultimately confident that the Sox have given themselves room to maneuver.


  112. It seems like the simplest possible investment, and not one that Keri calls "signings that could portend future moves and success or could end in spectacular failure."


  113. So I don't know what got lost in there.


  114. Either way, it can't be worse than last year.


  115. The thought experiment, of course, is whether all of this is worth crippling the team long-term if the Red Sox win the World Series in 2015.


  116. They are not crippling the team, but just as an experiment, like.


  117. It is a short experiment.


  118. The answer is yes.


  119. MIDDLE OF THE LIST STRETCH


  120. Sandoval's first at-bat never happened: he hit an RBI sacrifice fly off Brian Moehler of the Houston Astros.


  121. (Fact: Moehler is the worst-hitting pitcher of all time.)


  122. Sandoval hits his spikes with his bat before every plate appearance.


  123. That's for his family.


  124. After that, he knocks his helmet with the bat.


  125. That’s for God. Whoever that is.

    Pedro

    Yep, Him


  126. After that, he's on his own, and he swings the bat.

  127. Oh boy, does he swing it.

  128. He exists in the great tradition of high-power high-hack players that includes Alfonso Soriano and Vladimir Guerrero, to name two; he’s more consistent that Soriano, and less gnarly than Vlad.


  129. I'm sure it will be maddening at times.


  130. He owns what is truly perhaps the actual worst swing of all-time:


  131. And I want to see him do worse.


  132. This is the lineup Keri sees:

    1. CF Mookie Betts


    2. 2B Dustin Pedroia


    3. DH David Ortiz


    4. LF Hanley Ramirez


    5. 3B Pablo Sandoval


    6. 1B Mike Napoli


    7. RF Rusney Castillo


    8. SS Xander Bogaerts


    9. C Christian Vazquez



  133. There's no reason to think that a Sandoval cold streak would cripple the team.


  134. Also, there's something pretty about a switch-hitter in the five-hole.


  135. Especially when he can play the harmonica: 


  136. He has an older brother named Michael.


  137. He also played baseball.


  138. He signed with the Twins when Pablo was 12.


  139. He wouldn't make it beyond high-A ball, when he left in 2004


  140. After that, he played in Mexico and Venezuela for five years.


  141. In 2009, he returned to the States to play in independent leagues, first for the Newark Bears and, in 2010, the San Jose Giants, again at high-A.


  142. Michael now serves as Pablo's co-agent (with Gustavo Vazquez).


  143. He is an avid Twitter user and a good source of information about his brother:


  144. He's a better fielder than you might think.


  145. Mark Simon, of ESPN Stats & Information, says Panda is good in the field. "Sandoval finished 2014 with 60 Good Fielding Plays and 30 Defensive Misplays & Errors. His Good Play/Misplay ratio of 2-to-1 was second-best in the majors, trailing only Josh Harrison of the Pirates," he wrote.


  146. (The average 3B's ratio is just over 1:1, he writes.)


  147. He guesses that Sandoval's percentage on balls for which he had to dive was lower.


  148. I'll allow it, but the fact is, he's just good.


  149. "His hand-eye coordination is off the charts," says ESPN’s Alex Cora.


  150. "Pablo is someone who has always worked extremely hard on his defense and he pays a lot of attention to detail," says Giants bench coach Ron Wotus. "He's very athletic for his body type. He's always had the skills."


  151. He keeps them fresh by playing for the Navegantes del Magallanes in the offeason, in the Venezuelan winter league.


  152. The team is based in Valencia.


  153. Here’s Sandoval’s debut for the team


  154. (If you didn't want it, he walked!)


  155. Here is an adorable photo of Panda with his daughter, Yoleadny, at the 2011 Home Run Derby.


  156. There is a book called "The Ultimate Pablo Sandoval Fun Fact and Trivia Book."


  157. Questions include "What jersey number did Pablo Sandoval originally wear when he first came up to the Giants?"


  158. The answer is 56.


  159. Sandoval seems destined to be connected to the Giants forever, no matter what happens with the Red Sox.


  160. Three titles in five years will do that.


  161. His Giants rookie card goes for $5-10 on eBay:

    Panda


  162. The deals game two days after a self-parody Tony Massarotti column two days earlier, which asked "What Is at Stake for John Henry and Co. This Offseason? Their Relevance."


  163. Boston.com’s "Obnoxious Boston Fan," an actual parody, shot back at Mazz in his column about the deals, saying "The Red Sox have made themselves relevant again."


  164. (To drive the point home, he used the same photograph as Mazz' article.)


  165. Continuing the schtick, he wrote that he deals "weren't about baseball. And neither are the Red Sox. They are a unique form of entertainment that enjoys a special emotional and historic hold on their audience. The Red Sox are back on our radar. The Hot Stove has been turned up to about 375 degrees. John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Luchhino and Ben Cherington can enjoy a group high-five."


  166. This is probably an appropriate response, or as close as Mazz deserves.


  167. He really asked if "any of us want to wait 85 more years?" for another title, given what transpired last year.


  168. That is crazy.


  169. That is CRAZY.


  170. Again, and, I'm probably repeating myself.


  171. The Sox have some young players, who don't grow at the same rates.


  172. Dustin Pedroia is having trouble staying healthy, and David Ortiz will, purely theoretically, slow down at some point.


  173. Forget pitching for a second. If we realize the Red Sox need pitching, so does their GM.


  174. The order they sign players doesn't matter.


  175. The obvious hole in the offense is players in the round mound of their prime.


  176. These players don't come cheap.


  177. The Sox can absorb these contracts pretty easily.


  178. By signing Ramirez and Sandoval, the team has diversified and stabilized the offense.


  179. There is no reason a lineup has to be balanced, but the net effect is, I suspect, akin to diversifying your bonds.


  180. Obligatory:

    Get More: Comedy Central,Funny Videos,Funny TV Showse I like him.


  181. I really like Sandoval.

  182. Why wouldn't I?

  183. Here is a full video of his World Series home runs:

  184. He is already a legend out west.

  185. He can become a legend here.

  186. He can't do it on his own.

  187. (Unless it's the playoffs.)

  188. As of press time, the Red Sox were still expected to sign Lester.

  189. We are pretty sure they will.

  190. Writing that the Red Sox were going to lose relevance for 86 years because you couldn’t wait a month for it to happen is probably a tad overblown.

  191. The best time for a sane person to judge the Red Sox lineup is in Spring Training, because that's the only time it matters.

  192. Watch this hypnotic, super slow motion video of him legging out a triple in 2009:

  193. I could watch that all day.

  194. His most famous triple came in the All-Star Game.

  195. It was a first-inning, bases loaded triple, the first of its kind in the Midsummer Classic.

  196. It happened at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, the same place his Giants career ended.

  197. (For now.)

  198. Lookin' good, Panda:

    Some guys

  199. Scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

  200. Let's do some self-promotion.

  201. Compliments? Send them to @bryanjoiner.

  202. Complaints? Send them to @RedSox_Thoughts.

  203. Don't be shy with the complaints.

  204. One likely complaint? didn't cover the worst-case scenarios.

  205. That's fair.

  206. I'm not going to.

  207. This is a celebration.

  208. In a way, this deal *does* make the Sox relevant again.

  209. Not around here -- they will always be relevant around here -- but in the AL East.

  210. Gotta keep up with the Blue Jays, after all.

  211. Here's a fan-made Panda tribute: 

  212. And now here he is flipping over the dugout railing to make a catch: 

  213. Scraping the bottom of the barrel again.

  214. Prediction time!

  215. I think Sandoval will be a fan favorite, but a potentially maddening one.

  216. The Giants have always been built around pitching, which can hide team-wide slumps.

  217. There will be no hiding for Sandoval if he doesn't hit in Boston.

  218. Even if it's just for the first two weeks he's here.

  219. It's kinda just the way we are.

  220. Hail Aceves!

  221. STEAMER projects him to hit .281/.337/.451 this year.

  222. What's noticeable here is a 40-or-so bounce in slugging percentage it projects with him simply not playing in San Francisco.

  223. That's a spicy meatball.

  224. Just so I don't forget, here's his entire introductory press conference: 

  225. I guess what I'm saying is this: If you are reading this, and you are a parent, you might want to give someone a Sandoval shirt this holiday season.

  226. Especially if the person receiving the gift is a kid.

  227. If baseball is in some ways about never growing up -- and I'm not saying it is...

  228. ... but if it is, Sandoval is a player everyone can like.

  229. It would take a heartless monster not to love the guy.

  230. We've been accused of worse!

  231. Here is Sandoval falling down: 

  232. Man fall down. Funny.

  233. Time to wrap this up.

  234. a: Go Sox.

  235. b: Go sign Lester, Sox.

  236. c: Trade for someone else, too. Maybe Mat Latos?

  237. d: And that'll be that.

  238. Thanks for reading this far. It means a lot.

  239. Happy holidays! Be safe.

  240. Towel rack!


  1. Ignore this. The formatting wouldn't let me erase it without the entire list starting at number 72. I don't know either. :D