A longtime SF Giants infielder and fan-favorite is making a slight career pivot. Late last week, Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League announced that they have signed 14-year veteran Pablo Sandoval to a contract for 2022.
Longtime SF Giants fan favorite signs with Acereros de Monclova for 2022
Sandoval last appeared in a major league uniform with the Atlanta Braves, but his last transaction was with the Cleveland Guardians. Of course, he originally came through the Giants farm system as an international free agent signing in 2003 out of Venezuela.
In a sense, he was a late-bloomer as he struggled to produce in his first few seasons of pro ball. That was until 2008 when he thrived to the tune of a 1.009 OPS in 301 plate appearances with the San Jose Giants. His hot hitting continued following a promotion to Double-A as he generated a .913 OPS in 184 plate appearances in the Eastern League.
To cap off his meteoric rise, Sandoval was added to the Giants roster as the 2008 season came to a close. We did not know it at the time, but Sandoval's emergence along with the development of several other key contributors including Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Buster Posey during that time represented the beginning of the championship run.
The switch-hitter spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Giants before departing for the Boston Red Sox on a five-year, $90 million after the 2014 season. His career has sputtered since then, but he has had long stretches of being a productive role player, especially during his second stint with the Giants.
The longtime third baseman remained with the Giants on a one-year deal for 2020, but he struggled badly, posting a .549 OPS in 94 plate appearances before being designated for assignment. He caught on with the Atlanta Braves at the end of 2020 and for the bulk of 2021 before being shipped to the Guardians.
At the 2021 trade deadline, the 14-year veteran was traded for outfielder Eddie Rosario, who played a huge role in helping Atlanta secure their first championship in 26 years. On the other hand, Sandoval was immediately placed on waivers following the trade.
In an effort to continue his career, Sandoval played winter ball for the first time in years. He slashed .314/.398/.448 with one home run and 19 RBI in 123 for the Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan Winter League.
Clearly, he caught the attention of the Acereros de Monclova as he joins a team that went 35-31 while being one of the better teams in the Mexican League. In 2021, Monclova's roster included several notable players like Chris Carter, Danny Espinosa, and Bartolo Colon. It seems teams win wherever Sandoval goes, so hopefully, he brings more of that luck in his next stop.