In 2009 and 2011, Pablo Sandoval was one of the very best third basemen in the National League. In 2010, he was mediocre at best, playing his way out of a lineup spot as the Giants advanced into the postseason. It was going to be interesting to see what sort of deal he could have commanded in arbitration, but the Giants eliminated that headache, agreeing to a three-year deal with Sandoval. From Andrew Baggarly:
The Sandoval breakdown: $3.2 million this year, $5.7 million in 2013, $8.25 million in 2014. Takes him through all three arbitration years.
That 2012 salary is exactly what MLB Trade Rumors projected, but if he continued to hit as well as he did last season, he surely would have blown past those numbers in 2013 and 2014. Sandoval was also a finalist for the National League Gold Glove last year.
For his part, Sandoval gets the security of guaranteed money instead of hypothetical paydays based on good health and continued performance.
And for all of the concern over Sandoval's weight and physique, it's worth noting that he's still just 24, and that hitters who hit this well before turning 25 tend to stay good for a long time.