It did not take Pablo Sandoval very long to find a new home after his release from the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. He is reportedly heading back to the Bay Area to reunite with his old team, the San Francisco Giants.
Sandoval, 30, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Friday. He was officially released from the team on Wednesday. The Giants were very quick to act, as they reached a minor league deal with Sandoval hours after his release, according to multiple reports. The slugging third baseman will now once again be playing for the organization that he spent his first seven Major League seasons with.
Since signing with the Red Sox, Sandoval has struggled to duplicate the success that he had in San Francisco. Prior to the 2015 season, he agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal with Boston. In his first year with the Red Sox, Sandoval batted .245 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs. His 2016 season was cut short when he landed on the disabled list in April due to a shoulder strain. He ended up having shoulder surgery on his left shoulder a few weeks later. Sandoval was sidelined for the rest of the season following the surgery.
Unfortunately, Sandoval was unable to have a successful comeback with the Red Sox this season. Before being released, he was hitting .212 with just four home runs and 12 RBIs in 32 games. The last time Sandoval played in a game for the Red Sox was on June 19. On June 20, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to an inner ear infection.
After an unsatisfactory tenure with the Red Sox, it will be interesting to see if reuniting with his old team will help Sandoval get his confidence back. During his time with the Giants, he was a two-time All-Star. Perhaps the best season of his career was in 2011, when he batted .315 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs. He had a good year again in 2012, and even won the World Series MVP Award as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Sandoval hit .500 and blasted three home runs during that World Series.
During his time in San Francisco, Sandoval was a fan favorite. Giants fans affectionately called him, “Kung Fu Panda”. They were obviously very upset when he left.
The last time Sandoval was wearing a Giants uniform, he caught a pop-up in foul ground hit by Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. This out was the final one of the game, and it clinched the 2014 World Series championship for the Giants. Ever since then, Sandoval has not been the same player. The Giants have not been the same team either, as they have yet to win a playoff series since his departure. Even though the Giants will almost certainly not make the playoffs this season, this reunion could be exactly what the team and Sandoval both need right now.