Downfall of Pablo Sandoval in Boston

Downfall of Pablo Sandoval…sounds like a movie screenplay debuting at the Loews Boston Common doesn’t it? Well, it’s not unfortunately. The tumultuous career of the Panda in a Sox uniform took another turn on Tuesday afternoon with the news of the Panda being placed on the disabled list retroactive from April 11th with what manager John Farrell is calling a left shoulder strain. A little surprising seeing as I wasn’t aware you could strain a shoulder while riding the pine on the bench, but hey, that’s the Panda for you.

Taking his place on the 25-man roster will be INF Josh Rutledge. Downfall of Pablo SandovalRutledge appeared in 39 games for the big club last season and hit .284 with 1 HR and 10 RBI.

For Pablo, who hit .245 with 10 homers and a .658 OPS, this trip to the disabled list could actually pay dividends for the third basemen. It will not only give him a chance work on his conditioning and weight, but it will also take him out of the media spotlight for the time being.

The Downfall of Pablo Sandoval is Weighty

With all the talk centered around his weight as well as the 95 million dollar price tag associated with that, Sandoval has become a lightning rod for criticism. It’s hard to envision him returning in a few weeks a changed man, but you never know. Best case scenario Pablo loses a few pounds, gets some regular at-bats on a rehab assignment and comes back ready to contribute. Worst case scenario he comes back and contributes jack, but let’s be honest are we really expecting him to come back and wow us? If you truly believe that well, that’s a conversation for another time.

I think the main things for him to focus on his getting his health and weight in check, finding a rhythm at the plate with some regular at-bats once he begins a rehab assignment, and a chance to clear his mind from all the scrutiny he has faced since spring training. The downfall of Pablo Sandoval has been tough to watch but it’s looking more and more like his time in Boston is coming to an end.

No One Should Poke at Sandoval’s Weight

When the Red Sox arrived in Fort Myers last week to begin spring training one thing that almost everyone immediately focused on was Pablo Sandoval’s weight. A less-than-flattering photo showing Sandoval’s gut hanging over his shorts in mid throw flooded social media, making Red Sox fans scowl with concern that Panda’s weight could lead to another poor season. Not only is it unfair to body shame Sandoval, it also contributes absolutely nothing positive to the Red Sox as they prepare for the 2016 season. Red Sox nation should instead throw its own weight behind Panda and the rest of the team in order to avoid a third straight disastrous season and bring another World Series Championship back to Boston.

Sandoval's weight

Sandoval claims that his body weight is now at 17%, down from 23% last season, putting him in the “good” category and above most acceptable levels. If these numbers are true, then the last thing anyone should focus on is ridiculing Sandoval’s weight, especially going into a season where morale is going to be essential for the team. While Sandoval will probably always be on the stockier side, history shows us that weight gain doesn’t always mean it’s all over for a player. Take Babe Ruth for instance.

Ruth faced a similar, yet much more dangerous, scenario in 1925 when his weight ballooned to 260 lbs in the off-season. After supposedly binging on too many sodas and hot dogs before a pre-season game (some suggest alcohol was involved) Ruth was hospitalized for weeks in what became known as “the bellyache heard ’round the world.” Fortunately, the following season Ruth worked hard to shed the weight, after which he would go on to lead the American League in runs, walks, and home runs for the next three seasons. A key factor to keep in mind here is that Ruth was 30 years old at the time he turned it around and lost the excess weight, the same age that Sandoval will turn this year. If history is any indication of what is to come, since Panda is already working hard to stay fit, then the 2016 season could definitely shape up to be one of his best. Early reports from spring training suggest that Sandoval is prepping well for what could become a strong season for him with Red Sox manager John Farrrell stating this week, “His righthanded swing is much more consistent than what we saw at any time last year.”

Sandoval doesn’t need put-downs over his weight. Instead, Sandoval needs encouragement. When he starts to play well then fans need to let him know with cheers. Sandoval needs to know that we have confidence in him (I do). A little encouragement can go a very long way and in Sandoval’s case, he’ll need all he can get. Cheers, not finger pointing, is what will help Panda and the Sox capture another World Series title.

Is Health a Concern for Pablo Sandoval?

pablo sandoval

A picture is worth 1,000 words and this picture of Pablo Sandoval confirms that theory. Looking at the picture, Sandoval went a little heavy on the sweets this off-season— from the looks of that gut.
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Health has always been a concern for the Kung Fu Panda and has often lured teams away from the third baseman. Listed at 5-foot-11 245 pounds, Sandoval looks more like apablo sandoval high school football offensive lineman than he does the starting third baseman for the Boston Red Sox.

There is no doubt that Sandoval can play the game, but being in tiptop shape is one of the requirements for big time athletes. Boston invested $95 million in Sandoval for five years of his services and right now, he does not look to be in shape for the season— let alone five years from now.
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A switch hitter, Sandoval has yet to touch upon his weight issues, but instead he is looking to improve his splits. Hitting just .199 with an abysmal .244 OBP off lefties last season, Sandoval looks to improve his bat from the right side of the plate. As a lefty on the other hand, Sandoval dominates right-handed pitching and hit ..317 with a .363 on-base percentage last year.

If Sandoval is not in shape, or if he fails to hit lefties, Brock Holt is always an option to make a few appearances. In 208 at-bats against lefties, the super utility man is a .282 hitter with a .332 OBP, making him a viable option even if Sandoval does improve against lefties. Together the two could definitely make an impressive platoon at the position and although fans hate to hear the word “platoon” used with big name players, it might just be the Red Sox best bet.
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Of course one way Sandoval could avoid his struggles as a right-handed hitter is to avoid the problem. Perhaps if he abandons hitting from the right side entirely, he could see his splits improve.