With the 2015 season ending and everyone getting ready for the offseason rumors to heat up like the oven on Thanksgiving, let’s go back to the 2015 season for the Boston Red Sox and see what the biggest disappointment was for this ball club. I’ll just start off and talk about the big, large, slow, and… did I mention big? third baseman for the Boston Red Sox, Pablo Sandoval. I will try to keep it PG here when I talk about the Panda. I will admit that when I first found out about the signing, I thought he was going to be fine. This was before I knew what the pitching rotation was going to look like on opening day, but with his playoff experience, I hopped on the Panda Bandwagon and believed he was going to be a more positive signing than a negative one.
Boy, was I wrong.
Seeing him bat righty was laughable to say the least. His 3 singles and one walk in 47 at bats was just not doing the job. I think a chicken with its head cut off would probably make better contact than Pablo hitting righty. But don’t say the word “chicken” in front of him, because he will probably get hungry. It came to the point where near the halfway point of the season, the coaching staff finally made him bat from the left side permanently. That still didn’t help him because at the end of the 2015 season, he hit a mediocre .245 batting average, just edging out his weight at 240lbs. His weight has always been a problem in his career, but this looks like an all time high. After leaving San Francisco where they were watching his weight, it seems like Boston didn’t say they were going to do that. He looks bigger, slower, and not someone I would want as my everyday third baseman. Has he won three World Series? Yes. Is he one of the best playoff hitters in the game? Yes. But has there been former teammates saying that he is cancer in the locker room? Yes. Just ask Aubrey Huff. And if the team he plays for doesn’t watch his weight, will he just eat anything he sees? Just watch the Red Sox and you will see for yourself. Can you tell I don’t like Pablo Sandoval?
As I am cooling off about the Sandoval struggle, I began to notice a specific trend. A trend that isn’t really a good one to hear if you’re a Red Sox fan. Back in 2011, the Red Sox decided to go “sexy” and get some big time players and spend the big bucks for them. Speedy outfielder Carl Crawford and power hitting first baseman Adrian Gonzalez were both players from small market ball clubs (Tampa Bay and San Diego, respectively) and coming to Boston. An organization where if they aren’t contenders, the entire season is a failure. If you don’t know how the 2011 season went, I recommend you look it up at your own time because I don’t think you would want to hear about it from me.
What I am getting at is that the “sexy” approach hasn’t worked well for the Boston Red Sox. Crawford and Gonzalez weren’t ready for the media, expectations, and overall atmosphere in Boston. Now let’s fast forward to the offseason before the 2015 season began. The Red Sox decided to spend 88 million dollars on the injury prone, streaky hitting, and NON OUTFIELDER Hanley Ramirez. A shortstop/third baseman that was turned into a left fielder. Ramirez will be entering the 2016 season as the starting first baseman for the Red Sox, another experiment where we are all going to have to and wait and see if that will be a disaster like Hanley trying to take on left field and that big wall out there. And then 95 million dollars on Pablo Sandoval…you know the issues there.
So, is getting big named players the best idea for the Boston Red Sox? It clearly wasn’t the plan in 2013. They got good clubhouse guys for cheap money and they all meshed perfectly. No new big names added, but merely players that did their job, did what they were told to do without any issues, and played the game hard every day. That plan won a World Series. They also had a pitching staff that the one we were forced to watch night in and night out this season couldn’t compare to.
With the off season among us and block buster deals hoping to be made for your favorite team, the Red Sox have a lot of work to do. Let’s say I was in charge of the Boston Red Sox. What do you think I should do first? Ooooh I don’t know…*cough cough* trade Sandoval *cough cough.*, but that is just a dream of mine, so we are just going to have to wait and see.