The Boston Red Sox have a FAT $17 million contract on the books for whom else, but everyone’s favorite player, Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval has disappointed Bostonians with his lack-luster play and his inability to admit that he is not fit enough to make it through the entirety of a season. So, the question remains. What will the Red Sox do with Pablo Sandoval?
Rumors have been spreading over the past few weeks that the Red Sox could ship the third basemen back to San Francisco, where he won 3 World Series championships. For me, this is a dream come true.
The “Panda” as most people like to call him, was a complete marketing tactic from Red Sox ownership. At the age of 29, the Red Sox signed Sandoval to a 5 year $95 million contract. In previous years, Sandoval was a cornerstone to the Giant’s three World Series titles, making the signing at the time understandable.
Once Sandoval reported to Spring Training in 2015 looking like he was 9 months pregnant, I knew the signing was going to come back and bite them. Signing a player near the age of 30 is risky, but signing a player near the age of 30 and 40 pounds overweight is another thing. From the start of Spring Training to now in 2016, Sandoval has looked nothing like he did in San Francisco.
Sandoval has always had a big frame, carrying around a little extra fluff on the edges. In San Francisco this never stopped him from being a consistent player. Sandoval averaged around 16 home runs, 80 RBIs, and would hit close to .275. Once he landed in Boston, this all changed. The little extra fluff around the edges turned to a gut that rivaled a sumo wrestler. That extra weight hampered his play tremendously. Sandoval went down in every statistical category and spent more time on the DL than on the field. In 2016 Sandoval only played in 3 games, but still was paid $17 million.
The Red Sox have some major decisions to make. It will be exceptionally difficult to trade Sandoval away. Like I stated previously, the Red Sox have fielded offerings for Sandoval from the Giants. These talks are most likely nothing more than a rumor. No team is dumb enough to trade for a player that doesn’t have a team friendly contract and can’t hit out of a paper bag.
The Red Sox need to utilize Sandoval the best they can. Sandoval will never play up to the contract that he has been given. I believe that he could be used in a spot start, either at DH or third base. Travis Shaw has run away as the starting third basemen and rightfully deserves that. If Sandoval plays every day he will be not only be endangering the team, but his health as well.
The Red Sox front office signed Sandoval to bring fans to the ballpark. The once talented third baseman with a cute nickname has now turned to an overpaid and overweight disaster. Sandoval’s contract has restricted the Red Sox to make big moves and sign players that could put their roster over the top. It also may lead to their inability to sign young talent deserving of big contracts, such as Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. It is imperative for the Red Sox to utilize Sandoval the best they can and if they are given the opportunity to move him, they must capitalize on it.
The Red Sox are full of young talent and continue to improve. If the Sox want to be back in the playoffs for years to come, they will need to figure out what to do with their biggest problem, Pablo Sandoval.