Pablo Sandoval reportedly wants to play Major League Baseball again in 2022. Will the potential of a designated hitter being incorporated into the National League allow the former World Series MVP to continue his career?
Where will Pablo Sandoval play in 2022?
According to a tweet from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the 35-year-old Sandoval intends to keep his 14-year MLB career alive in 2022. Over the last two seasons, Sandoval has just 180 plate appearances and had a memorable 2021 after slashing just .178/.302/.342 with four home runs in 73 at-bats before traded on July 30 from the Atlanta Braves to Cleveland in exchange for Eddie Rosario and cash.
Cleveland immediately released Sandoval and he saw no other action in 2021. Rosario, meanwhile, would become a big part of Atlanta’s run to the World Series title, including Rosario earning National League Championship Series MVP honor by slashing .560/.607/1.040 with three homers and nine RBI in 25 at-bats.
While that’s the recent history for Sandoval, a look back into the not-so-distant past might provide enough potential for a National League team to take a chance on the player nicknamed Kung Fu Panda or Panda for short. In the two full seasons before the pandemic-shortened campaign of 2020 (when Sandoval was with the San Francisco Giants during the 2018 and 2019 seasons), Sandoval hit 23 home runs and drove in 81 in 502 at-bats.
San Francisco is where Sandoval has found the majority of his success in his career, playing 11 seasons with the Giants and making three World Series appearances (2010, 2012, and 2014). In those World Series games, Sandoval slashed .426/.460/.702 in 47 at-bats.
Of course, time has passed since Sandoval’s postseason success at the plate and the years have not been kind to his defensive abilities either. However, a team could be willing to take a chance on his past success with a minor league deal to see if Sandoval can still make an impact at the plate and slot him in at designated hitter.
Could that team be San Francisco, where Sandoval has had so much success in the past? It’s certainly something to watch as the offseason rolls along.