SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Giants will honor their 2014 team in August, and with Brandon Crawford still a free agent, they are without a member of that roster for the first time. That is about to change.
Pablo Sandoval will be coming to camp as a non-roster guest, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned, and this isn’t necessarily just to provide a sendoff like the Giants did with Sergio Romo, at least in the Panda’s mind. Sandoval has been telling his friends that he feels great and that he is trying to get back to the age of 37.
Sandoval has not played in the Major Leagues since 2021, when he hit .178 with four home runs for the Atlanta Braves. He played for two different organizations in Mexico the following year and last fall he played briefly in a league in Dubai.
Sandoval has had two stints with the Giants for a total of 1,149 games, but it’s very difficult for him to add to that number. He primarily played first base when he was with the Giants in 2020, and the roster has few left-handed options there, enough so that coaches have asked Blake Sabol to take ground balls this spring.
But LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores are ready most of the time at first and there are plenty at third base. JD Davis, David Villar and Casey Schmitt can all play there and the Giants could still add an infielder, with Matt Chapman being an obvious choice. Jorge Soler, who underwent his physical on Saturday, will get the majority of the at-bats.
Sandoval was at Oracle Park last August for the Mike Murphy ceremony and was much slimmer than he was in his playing days, and he has apparently continued to work hard during the offseason. At the very least, he should bring another dose of energy to the clubhouse this spring, and if he can stick around until March, he’ll be able to play at Oracle Park one last time like Romo did last year.
The Giants will also be able to add to the nostalgia with a nice touch. After Ross Stripling was traded to the A’s, they did not reissue number 48.