After 14 Major League seasons, Pablo Sandoval isn’t yet thinking about retirement, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link) that the veteran infielder intends to play next year. Sandoval didn’t catch on with another MLB organization after he was released by the Guardians back on July 30, but he is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League (his first VEWL appearance in nine years).
Sandoval signed a minor league deal with the Braves last winter and made the Opening Day roster, locking in a $1MM guaranteed salary. The Panda hit .178/.302/.342 with four homers over 86 PA, appearing almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter. After a hot start, Sandoval’s production cooled down considerably, as he had only a single hit in his final 37 PA in a Braves uniform.
Atlanta ended up sending Sandoval to Cleveland as salary offset in a trade deadline swap that ended up being one of the season’s more noteworthy transactions. The Braves dealt Sandoval for future NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario, who ended up being one of the key contributors to the Braves’ World Series title. Of course, the Panda is no stranger to postseason honors himself, after winning three Series rings with the Giants and capturing the World Series MVP award in 2012.
Though Sandoval’s prime years are behind him, the 35-year-old was still a productive part-time bat as recently as 2019, when he hit .268/.313/.507 and 14 home runs over 296 PA with the Giants. Given his long track record, he seems like a good candidate to land somewhere this winter on another minor league contract, as teams can get a first-hand look during Spring Training whether or not Sandoval has anything left in the tank.