Reports from Major League Baseball sources say that veteran third baseman Pablo Sandoval will return to play for the National League San Francisco Giants, where he played on three World Series championship teams and became a Bay Area hero.
Sandoval, who was released officially by the American League East leading Boston Red Sox late Wednesday, is expected to agree to a minor league deal with San Francisco Friday, pending the outcome of a physical.
Although he is not allowed to sign with any other MLB team until Friday when he will be officially deemed a free agent.
Sandoval told sources through texts that he was waiting until he became a free agent on Friday to make his decision and that one of his options was returning to the Giants. He added that a few clubs were interested but he is not able to make a final decision until Friday.
After his heroics in the postseason and then being named the MVP of the 2014 World Series, Sandoval decided to test free agency and signed a huge five-year deal worth $95 million with the Red Sox.
Sandoval’s time with the Red Sox was marred by injuries, poor play and a lack of conditioning. During the three year stint in Boston, Sandoval played only 161 games, ending his tenure at Fenway with a batting average of .237, 14 homers and 59 RBIs with a -2.0 WAR.
On Friday of last week, the Red Sox designated Sandoval for assignment and must still pay him $49 million that is left on his five-year deal.
For the third baseman, who was with San Francisco since the age of 16, returning to the organization could be what the always happy go lucky player needs to return to his previous All-Star form.
With the Giants he was very popular with the fans being nicknamed affectionately Kung Fu Panda. He was also very productive in his seven years with the Giants batting .294 with 106 homers, 462 RBIs and an accumulated WAR of 20.8.
Presuming there is no problem with his physical, and that is not certain given his injury problems of late, he will join the Sacramento River Cats the Triple-A affiliate of the Giants.
His return would be notable because the current player at third base, Eduardo Nunez will likely be traded between now and July 31 when the trade deadline arrives and possibly to Boston, making it much more ironic as Sandoval may step into the vacant third base job.