As a pending free agent coming off major surgery, Giants corner infielder Pablo Sandoval is heading into the offseason facing an especially uncertain future. If the 33-year-old gets his way, though, he’ll remain in San Francisco.
“Yeah, I want to be back,” Sandoval told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I want to retire from this organization. I’d love to be back with my teammates. We had a lot of fun.”
This will be the second trip to the open market for Sandoval, who exited the Giants for the Red Sox’s huge offer in November 2014. Then fresh off his third World Series title as a Giant, the two-time All-Star landed a five-year, $95MM contract that ultimately couldn’t have worked out worse for the Red Sox. Not only did Sandoval’s production tank in Boston, but injuries kept him off the field on a regular basis. The Red Sox deemed Sandoval a sunk cost in July 2017, releasing him with just under $50MM left on his deal. He’ll finally be off their books going into next season.
Sandoval didn’t look like a realistic bounce-back candidate when the Red Sox cut ties with him. However, he has served as a useful role player in his second act as a Giant. The Kung Fu Panda has batted .259/.311/.466 (105 wRC+) with 23 home runs in 548 plate appearances dating back to the start of the 2018 season.
Despite his recent return to relevance in San Francisco, Sandoval’s journeying back to free agency at an inopportune time. He only took one at-bat from Aug. 10 forward because of a right elbow injury – one that forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery and a more minor arthroscopic procedure Sept. 5. To make matters worse, Sandoval revealed afterward that the doctors found more damage in his elbow than they’d anticipated. He’s now facing “lots of rehab,” as Shea writes. Nevertheless, whether with the Giants or another team, Sandoval aims to keep his career going in 2020.