Leading Off

Final images of Panda in a Giants uniform?

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) scores on a rbi double by San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) in the fourth inning during Game 2 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) scores on a rbi double by San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) in the fourth inning during Game 2 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

With the baseball season coming down to one or two games in Kansas City, Mo., Giants fans may want to take a long look at third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

It may be the last you’ll see of him in a Giants uniform.

Sandoval, a staple inside the Giants’ clubhouse since he was a 22-year-old rookie in 2008 and an AT&T Park fan favorite who goes by the nickname “Kung Fu Panda,” will be a free agent next week. The Giants have offered a three-year deal worth $40 million. Sandoval wants five years and $90 million.

With that gap, the chances of Sandoval returning to the Giants are as slim as Hunter Pence’s game pants.

Don’t expect the Giants to raise their offer much, even though Sandoval has helped put them on the brink of San Francisco’s third World Series title in five seasons. And because of Panda’s October heroics, don’t expect his agent to lower their demand. In fact, he might raise it.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean would love to have Sandoval back. But with Sandoval’s never-ending battle of the bulge, Sabean and the Giants are afraid the 245-pounder will eat his way out of the lineup before he turns 33.

But how do you replace Sandoval at third base and in the batting order if you’re Sabean? Despite Sandoval’s rotund shape, he plays as light on his feet as any third baseman, and his glove is a magnet for ground balls. How do you replace a player who lives for big games in October?

San Francisco fans – both Giants and 49ers – have said their goodbyes to popular players. It appears they’ll bid adieu to Sandoval.

– Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


What to watch

World Series: Giants at Royals, 5:07 p.m., FOX: The Giants enter Game 6 within a victory of the title.

Today’s poll


Poll results

Who will win the World Series?

▪ Giants: 69%

▪ Royals: 31%

Total votes: 386

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