Do you still have your Pablo Sandoval “panda hat” from ten years ago? You may be able to put it to good use, as the Giants have just re-signed Sandoval to a minor-league contract, though with no guarantees he’ll play again in the big leagues.

This coming baseball season marks the ten-year anniversary of the last time your San Francisco Giants won the World Series. That team was a lovable group of misfits: meme king Hunter Pence, snot-rocket-blowing Madison Bumgarner, and the delightfully portly Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval would leave the Giants after that season for a $95 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, though his tenure in Boston was an absolute failure. The infielder whose measurements earned him the nickname “Kung Fu Panda” then returned to the Giants in 2017, got released in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, played a season with the Atlanta Braves, and has been bouncing around the Mexican Leagues ever since.


But hey, hey, hey, look who’s back. The Chronicle reports that Sandoval has signed a minor-league contract with the Giants, which means he would play for the San Jose Giants or Sacramento River Cats, and hope to be called up to the big leagues.

But just looking at the 37-year-old Sandoval’s current condition, his shoulders are wider than his waistline. So that’s a good sign for a player who was known as one of the slowest baserunners in Major League Baseball.


This is not like the ceremonial one-day signing of Sergio Romo last year, where Romo just wanted one more chance to pitch in front of home fans. Sandoval can still hit, and is convinced he can be called up to the major leagues. “I came here to fight for a spot,” Sandoval told the Chronicle.


You’d think that a heavy-set 37-year-old could just be plugged in as designated hitter. But the Giants already signed Miami Marlins star Jorge Soler for that role. So Sandoval would have to play first base or third base, and more importantly, he’d have to show he’s still good enough to get called up and play in the major leagues.  

And folks, Sandoval has not played in a Major League Baseball game in nearly three years. So while sentimental Giants fans may love the move, more competitive-minded Giants fans would likely prefer they make moves towards still-available free agents like pitcher Jake Snell, third baseman Matt Chapman, and first baseman Cody Bellinger.

Related: Pablo Sandoval Bobblehead Is Flying, Chewing Bubblegum [SFNews]


Image: PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 28: Pablo Sandoval #42 of the San Francisco Giants jokes with a teammate prior to the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 28, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. All uniformed players and coaches are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)