A few weeks after the Giants designated Hunter Pence for assignment, Pablo Sandoval met the same fate Thursday, the Giants parting ways with the Panda a day after they signed Justin Smoak, essentially his replacement.
This will be Sandoval’s second split from the organization, having gone to the Red Sox after the 2014 World Series, before flopping in Boston and finding his way back to San Francisco in 2017. He’s been a productive player and a beloved clubhouse feature, but his bat never came around this year.
Shortly after the news broke, Pablo posted a thank you note to his former teammates, coaches and Giants fans on Instagram.
“San Francisco Giants, my teammates, coaches & the best fans in the world,” Pablo wrote. “You’ve been everything I could have dreamed of and more…
“It’s been an honor and privilege to play for you. My heart will forever be in San Francisco.”
While Sandoval retires a fan favorite, it wasn’t all that long ago that he was close to being a pariah in the Bay Area, after taking shots at the Giants organization upon his exit in 2014, after winning his third World Series title with the club.
But after flaming out on Boston, Bruce Bochy, a man Sandoval considered a father figure, took a flyer on a contrite Sandoval, giving him a chance to redeem himself to a fanbase that was quick to bury the hatchet.
Though Sandoval never regained the form of his first tenure with the club, the four-year reunion had its moments, most notably when the Panda pitched a 1-2-3 inning vs. the Dodgers in 2018. For nostalgia’s sake, here’s that video:
Now pitching… Pablo Sandoval 🐼 pic.twitter.com/NI9vOr6raD
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 29, 2018