Is Pablo Sandoval Ready to Start Over?

Seemingly every time I unlock my iPhone, I see Pablo Sandoval. I’m not sure if that excites me, or merely worries me.

It’s all over social media. I’ll simply be scrolling through my Snapchat feed  when a story will popPablo Sandoval up and he will be working out with Miguel Cabrera. The next time I check my phone, Sandoval is live streaming his batting-practice on Instagram. There is reason to be enthusiastic, but I’m not sold yet.

Sandoval has hit a mere .242 in the American league thus far, and his on-base-percentage is under .300. He has not been spectacular defensively either, with 16 errors made in the field in just 129 games. The Red Sox should not be having issues at third-base, and Sandoval has under produced. He has been a disappointment so far, especially for a player who is still guaranteed some $40 million dollars.

Travis Shaw had potential in Boston. In his first full season in the big leagues, he showed promise in his somewhat limited role in Boston’s rotation of infielders. He hit 16 homers, 34 doubles and drove in 43 runs. Shaw only hit .242 last year, but what he did show was the capability to improve a clean swing that can drive balls to the pull side and gaps. Also, his ripe age of 26 made him even more appealing to me, personally.

Pablo Sandoval’s Role Moving Forward

Trading for Tyler Thornburg makes sense. We picked up a guy who has established himself as a dominant reliever in baseball for a player who may or may not have fit our system. Travis Shaw will now have a chance to flourish in Milwaukee, while Thornburg sets up Kimbrel in our bullpen. The Red Sox will now be forced to go ‘all-in’ on Pablo Sandoval because Shaw and Moncada are gone.

The numbers have not lied about Pablo Sandoval yet, as analysts have not projected him to be heavily productive at third base for this roster. Who knows what could happen? This is a guy who carried San Francisco on his back to a World Series title back in 2012. Watching him crush home-runs out of AT&T Park and seeing the pandamonium (yes, I went there) take place was an unbelievable experience for me, as a young baseball fan. Pablo Sandoval was the driving force of a World-Series-winning team just five years ago. It doesn’t sound like a risk at all when you put it that way, right?

Is Pablo Sandoval Ready To Come Back?

After last season, many people didn’t have high hopes for Pablo Sandoval. His 2015 season was mediocre. He only hit .245 in 126 games. He made fifteen errors for a .949 fielding percentage. Sandoval arrived at spring training this year overweight. Then there was the belt buckle incident. In seven at-bats this season Sandoval collected NO hits. After surgery in May, Sandoval disappeared. Now, according to Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe, Sandoval has lost fifteen pounds and will rejoin the team in Tampa. So is Pablo Sandoval ready to come back for good? If so, will we see a different Pablo Sandoval ready for action?

In my first post, I mentioned that it wasn’t fair to poke fun at Sandoval’s weight. HisPablo Sandoval Ready body weight at the time was supposedly 17%, but it quickly became obvious that number was false. Sandoval was then mysteriously placed on the DL for a shoulder issue. Some speculated that he was put on the DL to get his weight under control. This idea makes much more sense, even if it’s unverified. In fact, I’m more likely to believe the latter scenario. The Red Sox obviously didn’t want to give someone time off to get their weight under control when he had all off-season to do so. But after making a deal to pay Sandoval $72.4 million over four years, the last thing the team wants to do is see that go to waste.

There’s little we actually know about whether Sandoval is actually going to rejoin the team this season. He’s a third baseman, and it’s possible that Farrell is thinking of plugging Sandoval at third base, especially with the way Travis Shaw has been hitting lately. Aaron Hill isn’t doing much better either. Has Sandoval truly worked hard to shed the pounds and rehab his arm? If so then it’s only logical to put him in and see if he can help the Red Sox reclaim first place.

Is Pablo Sandoval Ready To Finish His Career In Boston?

Sandoval is 30 years old. Surely he has a few more good years in him, but it’s not likely any other team will pick him up after his contract is up in two years. So Sandoval will have to do some hard thinking about what he wants to do in the next few years. Does he want to buckle down and get back to the field? Or does he want to sulk and cash his checks? If I were him I could see the temptation in staying on the DL. He’s more or less guaranteed that money, so why should he rush to get back? Honestly through, I don’t think Sandoval is that kind of guy. I genuinely think he wants to get back to the field as soon as he can. But he’s going to have to be realistic about what his career has left for him.

Right now, Dave Dombrowski is probably looking at Sandoval the way Billy Beane looked at an aging David Justice in Moneyball (one of my favorite movies). There’s the scene where Justice is in the batting cage talking to Bean in a disrespectful manner. After a strong rebuke, Beane adds, “I want to milk the last ounce of baseball you have in you.” Like Justice, Sandoval isn’t the player he used to be. So will we see Pablo Sandoval ready for action soon? Can he squeeze a little more effort out of himself? Maybe. But if Sandoval wants to contribute, then he has to be completely serious, and give all he has.

In other words, Sandoval can’t afford to break another belt.

Rutledge Joins Team After Sandoval Put on DL

Pablo Sandoval was placed on the disabled list this week after complaining about pain in his left shoulder. This is a strange move since Sandoval has seen very little playing time this season. Some believe that the Red Sox placed Sandoval on the DL so they’d have more time to figure out what to do with him. It’s clear that the Red Sox want him gone, but they don’t want to pay out the $75 million remaining on his contract.

With Sandoval’s placement on the DL, Josh Rutledge joins the Red Sox from AAARutledge joins Pawtucket where he started the season. Rutledge hit .284 in 39 games with the Red Sox in 2015, including one home run and 10 RBIs. While Rutledge hasn’t seen much action with the Red Sox since coming over from the Colorado Rockies, he was hitting .316  in five games with Pawtucket before Sandoval’s placement on the DL opened a place for him on the Red Sox roster.

Rutledge joins the team at a time when the Red Sox are struggling to get ahead in the standings. After finally stopping the Baltimore Orioles’ seven game winning streak on April 13, the Red Sox are going to have to re-examine their pitching lineup, especially with Clay Buchholz, who failed to protect the Boston’s lead over the Orioles Tuesday night and left the game with a 10.00 ERA. We’re still seeing hustle and glimmers of hope for a good season from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, whose hot bats drove in the runs that stopped Baltimore’s winning streak, and Joe Kelly did well on the mound despite giving up a home run. Coming up from Pawtucket, Rutledge is in a good position to ride that momentum, especially if he can prove himself offensively and defensively.

It’s obvious that the Red Sox want to rid themselves of Sandoval, which is really too bad if you think about it. Sandoval seemed to like being in Boston and says he wants to stay. But it’s clear he doesn’t want to put in the work and hustle that is needed to keep his place in the lineup. So while Panda stays in limbo as the Red Sox try to figure out what to do with him, Rutledge will have his chance to show John Farrell and the rest of the team what he has and how it will contribute to a winning season.

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.

Ding Dong City

Everyone in Red Sox Nation will remember were they where when Manager John Farrell announced that Rookie sensation Travis Shaw aka Mayor of Ding Dong City, would be the Opening Day third baseman for the Boston Red Sox.

“For right now to start the season this is what’s best for our team,” said Farrell.

The Mayor of Ding Dong City

It’s kind of hard to disagree with him, especially after the spring that Shaw had. This spring the Mayor has hit .333, 2 Home Runs, 10 RBI’s and an OPS of .886. Now for me, personally I’m a believer that spring stats don’t mean much in the sense of a preview of what’s to come. But, with that said I do believe that having a good spring CAN play you into the starting lineup, but in this case I think it’s because of something even bigger.

It’s no secret that Farrell is on the “hot seat”, so management HAS to put the best possible product on the field and that’s why we will all be seeing Shaw to open the season. Shaw came into camp hungry and ready to hit the ground running.

Who’s Hungry? Ding Dong City, is.

Sandoval came into camp hungry, hungry for snacks and the food spread and literally couldn’t hit the ground running even with his impressive 17% massive frame. So it’s almost a no-brainer to go with Shaw and see what he can give us in what could be the most important month of April in Farrell’s managerial career.

Do I think The Mayor of Ding Dong City will be the third baseman for the whole season? Hell No. Do I think this is only a temporary fix until Pablo can show some progression and improvement offensively and defensively? Yes. Shaw’s rise to the majors and his popularity in Boston is great to see for the game, but I’m not 100% ready to jump on the Shaw-mobile quite yet, especially when you have Sandoval and his “$17 million dollar salary and his 17% body fat” riding the pine to begin the season.

But for fun, lets say Sandoval doesn’t improve and just can’t cut the mustard and continues to be a bench guy going into June/July…

  • Do the Sox trade him? Doubtful, unless they swallow their pride and eat up a good chunk of money.
  • Do they release him? Very possible, but you’re still going to be on the hook for the remainder of his gut-sized $95 million dollar contract.

Bottom line, Red Sox Nation is ready for the Mayor to hit massive Ding Dong’s all around the league. But if he can’t we have to come to the realization that Pablo and his stash of Ding Dong Cakes will be waiting in the wings.