Surgery Could Save Sandoval’s Career

Pablo Sandoval was probably pretty disappointed when he found out he was going to need season-ending shoulder surgery. Nobody wants to be told they’re done for the year when it’s only just begun. If there’s a silver lining, however, it’s that surgery could save Sandoval’s career.

Let’s face it; 2016 was shaping up to be another lost season for Boston’s maligned third basemanSurgery Could Save Sandoval's Career. Coming off the worst year of his career, he arrived at spring training overweight (again), failed to bat said weight and wound up losing his starting job to a player making $17 million less than him. Sandoval rode the pine in April, appearing in just three games as Shaw and the Red Sox got off to torrid starts.

Sandoval was stuck. His team had little use for him while his contract and recent performance made him untradeable. So he wasted away on the bench, watching Shaw’s success systematically destroy whatever shot he had at redemption in 2016.

Now, with Sandoval out for the rest of the year, he’ll have to wait until 2017 to get back in Boston’s good graces. That gives him loads of time to get in the best shape of his life and prove he’s serious about his conditioning. It also gives him time to fix whatever broke in his swing last year and work on his defense.

Sandoval has nothing but time. The question is: will he use it effectively?

Surgery Could Save Sandoval’s Career, or Finish it

A year off could do Sandoval wonders. It certainly did for John Lackey, another West Coast star who initially struggled upon signing a big contract with the Red Sox. After pitching at a historically awful level in 2011, Lackey missed all of ’12 recovering from Tommy John surgery. It was a turning point in his career, as a slimmed-down Lackey returned to form in 2013 and is still going strong as he enters his late 30s.

Surgery could save Sandoval’s career, too..It’s not hard to imagine him having a similar renaissance next year, given that he’ll only be 30. He’ll also be extra motivated to win his job back after everything that’s happened this spring.

On the other hand, going under the knife may only hasten Sandoval’s decline. Adrian Gonzalez fell off significantly as a hitter following the same procedure, which doesn’t bode well for Sandoval. He may also find that taking a whole year off severely disrupts his timing, which could prevent him from having the kind of start he needs to secure regular playing time again.

How the rest of Sandoval’s career plays out will likely be decided by what he does over the next calendar year. If he buckles down and sheds some pounds, he may yet find his way back into Boston’s lineup. But if he sits around and lets his skills continue to erode, he better get used to watching Travis Shaw at the hot corner.

Panda is Officially Down and Out

News broke this evening that Pablo Sandoval is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery in the days to come with Dr. James Andrews. So, I guess you could say the Panda is officially down and out.

For me, this whole thing just doesn’t add up at all. PandaHow can someone hurt their shoulder to such severity after barely seeing anytime during the 2016 season? I mean, did the swing that broke the belt do it? Did he slip getting other teammates Gatorade in the dugout and land on his shoulder? The only logical thing that comes to mind is “pre-existing” injury from his SF Giants days.

Yes, players go through extensive medical check-ups and physicals before signing their name on the dotted line. Teams, to their credit, do extensive background checks of all medical records to ensure that you’re not dishing out $95 million to a broken toy. (Oops, did I just say that?) I mean, everyone surely remembers the Mike Napoli situation before the 2013 season. Tests determined that Napoli suffered AVN, which is a progressive, degenerative disorder that kills bone tissue. Because of it, the Red Sox withdrew their original three-year, $39 million contract and ended up signing Napoli to a one-year, $5 million contract instead.

Hey Panda, Do You Smell That?

So it begs the question: were the Red Sox so desperate to add some star-power to their lineup after coming in dead last in 2014 that something was overlooked? Or was this just a freak-accident that somehow cannot be explained? You’re guess is as good as mine, but quite frankly I smell BS when it comes to the front office and former GM, Ben Cherington.

One thing is for sure—Red Sox Nation has very likely seen the last of Pablo Sandoval in 2016. Sure, he could come back next year after his surgery and be dynamite at the plate and on defense, but news flash…WE DON’T NEED HIM! Why? TRAVIS SHAW.