Pablo Sandoval Signs With Mexican League’s Acereros De Monclova

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Pablo Sandoval is headed to the Mexican League for the 2022 season. The Acereros de Monclova announced this evening (Spanish-language link) that they’ve signed the two-time MLB All-Star.

Sandoval, a client of Beverly Hills Sports Council, has appeared in parts of fourteen MLB seasons. He made his big league debut with the Giants in 2008, and he’d established himself as an everyday player by the following season. The switch-hitting Sandoval hit a remarkable .330/.387/.556 across 633 plate appearances during his age-22 campaign, finishing seventh in NL MVP balloting that year. That showing cemented him as a key member of a burgeoning core that would go on to win three of the following five World Series titles.

There’s no doubt Sandoval was a huge part of that success. He appeared in at least 108 regular season games each season between 2010-14, posting above-average offensive numbers (by measure of wRC+) in every season other than 2010. The Kung Fu Panda again earned some down ballot MVP support in 2011, and he was downright excellent during the Giants’ 2012 and 2014 postseason runs. He claimed World Series MVP honors in the former season, thanks to an 8-16 showing in a sweep over the Tigers. And while he didn’t receive any postseason awards in 2014, his 12-28 performance in that year’s World Series helped San Francisco narrowly defeat the Royals in a tightly-contested seven-game battle.

Following the 2014 season, Sandoval signed a five-year, $95MM contract with the Red Sox. That proved a sizable misstep for then Boston-GM Ben Cherington, as Sandoval’s production tanked fairly quickly thereafter. He hit only .245/.292/.366 in his first season with the Sox. That proved to be his final year as an everyday player, as he hasn’t topped 300 plate appearances in any season since. The Venezuela native missed almost all of 2016 recovering from a labrum injury, then got off to a terrible start to the 2017 campaign. Boston released him midway through that season, and he returned to the Giants in free agency.

By 2018, Sandoval reinvented himself as a capable bench bat and part-time corner infielder. He played with San Francisco until 2020, then hooked on with the Braves late in that season and made their playoff roster. He re-signed with Atlanta on a minor league pact last winter and broke camp with the club. While he got off to a nice start as a designated pinch-hitter, Sandoval saw his production turn downward by May. He was traded to the Indians at last year’s deadline, with his contract included in the deal that sent Eddie Rosario to Atlanta to offset some of Rosario’s salary. Cleveland released Sandoval immediately and he sat out the remainder of the season, although he did collect a World Series ring when the Braves went on to win the championship.

Sandoval returned to the diamond this winter. After putting up impressive numbers in the Venezuelan Winter League, he’ll head to Mexico for the upcoming season. It remains to be seen whether the 35-year-old will make a return to affiliated ball in the United States at some point down the road.

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