You gotta go back to Will Clark, I guess, for the last time a guy had as good a final season as Chipper Jones is having. At least when he knew it was his final season beforehand.
Jones hit two homers last night — the second of which was his 2,700th career hit — passing Dave Winfield on the all-time home run list. For the season, Jones is now hitting .315/.391/.519 with 12 homers and 53 RBI at the age of 40. Obviously he doesn’t play every day due to the wonky everything, but that’s amazing production for a guy with one foot in the baseball grave.
As our D.J. Short just pointed out on Twitter, only seven players have posted a higher OPS in a single season past the age of 40 with a minimum of 300 at bats. They are: Moises Alou, Harold Baines, Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Barry Bonds, who did it twice, and Ted Williams.
For a guy who has accomplished just about everything in baseball, it’s a nice cherry on top.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.