While Pablo Sandoval didn?t exactly rip the San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox third baseman?s recent critical comments still were surprising.
Just ask Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans, who handles most of San Francisco?s contract negotiations.
Sandoval told Bleacher Report?s Scott Miller the decision to leave San Francisco and sign with Boston over the offseason was ?not hard at all? because he felt disrespected by the Giants? approach to discussions. Evans, clearly taken aback by the comments, saw things differently.
?I was never given any indication that Pablo was ?done with the Giants,? ? Evans told The Boston Globe?s Nick Cafardo. ?In fact, he was apologetic that he could not accept our offer at the time and that he needed to wait, and he expressed to me that he wanted to stay with the Giants. And we certainly wanted him to stay with us as well.?
According to Evans, the Giants offered Sandoval a four-year contract extension last spring training worth $85 million. The deal also included a vesting option that had very reasonable incentives, Evans told Cafardo, yet Sandoval decided to play out the season and test free agency.
Sandoval ultimately signed a five-year, $95 million contract with the Red Sox in November, and the two-time All-Star has said several times he left money on the table to sign with Boston. According to Evans, the Giants, who made their first offseason offer the day after their World Series parade, matched the Red Sox?s offer and were prepared to increase their bid if it meant bringing back a franchise cornerstone.
?This is a player who was extremely popular with our fan base,? Evans told Cafardo. ?I hope he?ll always be looked upon in a very positive way and that he can look back with appreciation of what he helped accomplish, being a huge part of three championships.?
Sandoval was asked about his comments Tuesday at Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers. The 28-year-old defended his stance, though he also chose to focus on his love for Boston rather than any lingering animosity toward San Francisco.
Perhaps most surprising to Evans was that Sandoval told Miller he only missed manager Bruce Bochy and outfielder Hunter Pence from his days in San Francisco. After all, Kung Fu Panda seemed like such a happy-go-lucky guy throughout his seven seasons in the Bay Area.
?Pablo was a great teammate and I know he loved all of his teammates,? Evans told Cafardo. ?That?s not the Pablo I remember or that his teammates remember. He showed a great caring for everyone.
?I don?t take what he said literally. I give him the benefit of the doubt. He?s an emotional guy, very passionate about the game. I don?t hold this as an example of who he is.
?He was a great player for us and we appreciate everything he did.?
Sandoval’s exit from San Francisco wasn’t a disaster, nor was it as amicable as originally believed. Perhaps it’s time to simply focus on the future.
Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images