Longtime SF Giants corner infielder Pablo Sandoval signed with the Atlanta Braves on Monday to a minor-league deal, per Jon Heyman.
It was a somber day for many SF Giants fans when the team designated longtime fan favorite Pablo Sandoval for assignment. Luckily for fans of the Kung Fu Panda, he’s reportedly found a new home, at least for now. According to Jon Heyman, the Atlanta Braves have signed Sandoval to a minor-league contract.
While Sandoval is likely headed to the Braves alternate site, he could be in-line for a big-league call-up if they suffer an injury at an infield corner. Atlanta has had difficulty on the infield this year.
Austin Riley, Johan Camargo, and Ozzie Albies have all failed to perform up to previous levels. Sandoval primarily served as a left-handed pinch hitter for the Giants but could handle third base duties, especially against tough right-handed matchups, for Riley.
Atlanta is also carrying a veteran left-handed designated hitter option on their roster in Matt Adams. However, his .184/.216/.347 batting line isn’t far better than Sandoval’s. As the Giants chose to give Justin Smoak in opportunity over Sandoval, the Braves could see Sandoval as an upgrade over Adams.
There’s no denying Sandoval’s struggles in 2020. In a diminished role, he hit .220/.278/.268 with just 1 home run. If Braves fans are looking for more though, according to Baseball Savant, Sandoval’s expected batting average (.255 to .202) and expected slugging percentage (.378 to .377) are better than Adams.
With the Atlanta Braves in the thick of the playoff chase, Pablo Sandoval could potentially get another postseason opportunity. SF Giants fans know the kind of heroics he’s capable of. Technically, Sandoval would need to be added to the Braves active roster by tomorrow to be playoff eligible, but even if not, he could replace a player placed on the injured list.