© Eric Hartline | 2019 Jul 31
It’s no secret the Giants organization is headed towards a great amount of change. With San Francisco entering the last month of the 2019 season, there are potentially a lot of lasts that loom.
One of the most notable lasts might have taken place this past weekend.
In the bottom of the seventh in the Giants 8-4 loss to the Padres on Sunday, Pablo Sandoval stepped to the plate for what very well could have been his final at-bat in orange and black. Sandoval was placed on the 60-day injured list on Monday and will be getting Tommy John surgery sometime this week before he hits free agency.
With such a decorated career in San Francisco, one wonders if number 48 will ever be worn again for the Giants. As great as Sandoval has been, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic isn’t quite sure his number will head to the rafters.
“That’s a tough one. I would say no,” Baggarly said on KNBR Tuesday afternoon. “…I would say no because we’re only very lightly treading into this new realm where they are looking into retiring other numbers [that aren’t Hall of Famers].”
There is a long list of great Giants that contributed to what has been a historic decade for the franchise. Baggarly noted that while he doesn’t see Sandoval’s number getting retired — and he isn’t alone in that category — it might be awhile before someone dons number 48.
“I’d imagine that 48 will probably be put on the shelf for a while. There are sometimes numbers that are unofficially retired — nobody has worn 55 since Tim Lincecum and I think that will probably continue for the foreseeable future. Maybe it’s one that gets put on the shelf for a while but I’m not sure [if they retire 48]… I would say probably no on that is my initial reaction.”
On Sunday, the Giants also unveiled a sign on the left-field wall saying ‘Thank You Boch!’ honoring their longtime manager who is set to retire at the conclusion of this season. As the beginning of the end is starting to commence for the Giants franchise, the eye towards the future has also begun. While Baggarly said he has been told Farhan Zaidi hasn’t exactly begun his search for the next manager, the conversation has certainly started to take place around the organization.
“When I talked to Larry Baer about this, he said this is going to be Farhan’s hire,” Baggarly said. “This is going to be someone who has to have a simpatico relationship with Farhan. As much as the Giants would love to have somebody whose got franchise ties — we know they hired someone like Felipe Alou for a reason — they’d like someone who has some name recognition. I think ultimately they know they have to get out of the way and let Farhan make this move.”
“They’ve had conversations with him when they hired him about what kind of manager he would see as a good fit. So, they know what he is thinking and they’re okay with it. In terms of what the names are, I think they’re going to do the full roll out. I think they’re going to talk to more than a half a dozen people; maybe even as many as ten. There is going to be multiple stages. This will go into November, I believe because they are going to talk to people that are in the postseason that they won’t be able to talk to until after the World Series….I think they are willing to go into this with an open mind and be surprised.”
Though there have been many, one of Zaidi’s best finds this year was his early season trade with Toronto that landed Kevin Pillar.
Pillar is the first Giant to hit 20 home runs (11 of those 20 coming at Oracle Park) in a season since Brandon Crawford did so in 2015. His slash line that is currently .258/.285/.450 might not be very snazzy, but he has been one of the most productive players for San Francisco this year — at the plate and in center. Although Pillar is headed for a pay raise through arbitration, Baggarly believes there is a good chance the center fielder is back in San Francisco next year.
“If I were a betting man, I would say right now yes. They do tender him a contract and bring him back. Maybe they even make him an offer for like two years with a little bit more of a modest salary, if he’d be interested in taking that. They don’t have an easy replacement for him so that makes me think he is going to be back but I don’t know if they necessarily will look to give him a multi-year extension.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Baggarly on Sandoval, Bochy and Pillar — start from 5:40.