Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval went to the injured list Aug. 14 with bone chips in his right elbow, which may prove to be a season-ending issue. There’s a “fair” chance Sandoval won’t return in 2019, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
If Sandoval doesn’t come back this year, it’s possible we’ve seen the last of the fan favorite in a San Francisco uniform. The 33-year-old is set to become a free agent in the offseason, when the Red Sox are sure to pay him a $5MM buyout in lieu of a $17MM club option for 2020. Sandoval’s on the cusp of wrapping up the ill-fated deal he signed entering 2015 with Boston, which handed him a five-year, $95MM guarantee. His tenure with the Red Sox went so poorly that they paid him to go away in July 2017, but Sandoval was effective as a Giant before then and has again turned into a useful major leaguer since re-signing with the club shortly after returning to free agency two years.
While left-handed pitchers toyed with Sandoval in previous years, the Kung Fu Panda has offered respectable numbers against them and righties this season. As a result, Sandoval has put up an above-average line of .269/.314/.509 (109 wRC+) with 14 home runs and a personal-best .240 ISO in 295 trips to the plate. Statcast largely backs up Sandoval’s output, crediting him with a .338 expected weighted on-base average that aligns with a .342 real wOBA.
Along with providing the Giants quality work at the dish this season, Sandoval has logged 20-plus appearances at both third and first. There has been talk of outgoing manager Bruce Bochy giving the versatile Sandoval an opportunity to appear at every position in a game this season, but the chances of that occurring may be gone.