By: Jake Perda
Let’s face it, Ben Cherington fucked up big time when he decided to shell out $95 million to Pablo Sandoval despite his overweight physique and steadily declining numbers. In case anyone has somehow forgotten what Pablo has done since signing this deal, I’ll quickly recap his Red Sox career.
In 2015, Sandoval debuted in Boston with arguably the worst season of his career. Many thought that this failure would motivate him to improve, but it didn’t. He showed up to Spring Training in 2016 even fatter than before, and he was beaten out by Travis Shaw for the starting job at 3rd base. 6 games and 1 exploded belt later, Pablo ended up needing season-ending shoulder surgery. The hope among fans was that he was going to use this time to get his shit together and return to being a player who could contribute to the success of a major league team. This brings us to the Spring of 2017.
Pablo gave Sox fans plenty of reasons to believe he was prepared for a full-blown redemption tour by coming into camp in much better shape and leading the Majors with 20 RBI’s in Spring Training. However, once the regular season began, Red Sox fans everywhere were painfully reminded of how meaningless a solid Spring Training performance can be.
In 17 games before his month long trip to the disabled list, Sandoval hit .213 with an OPS of .646 while striking out in 21% of his at-bats. In 15 games since returning from his injury, Pablo is batting .211 with a .584 OPS while striking out 29% of the time. In a nutshell, he sucked before he was injured, and he has sucked after being injured.
Regardless of what he did in the World Series with the Giants, how hard he worked this offseason, or how well he hit in Spring Training, you simply can not justify keeping Pablo Sandoval on this roster. Sure, they can stash him on the DL with an “inner ear infection”, but they’re going to have to deal with this problem eventually. And they have no choice but to bite the bullet and cut him.
Every time he has been given the opportunity to play, he has proven that he’s nothing more than an incapable hitter and a defensive liability. In 161 games in a Red Sox uniform, he has hit .237 and committed 21 errors. He is being paid to produce at an elite level, yet his overall performance suggests that he not even a capable Major League baseball player. Instead of paying Sandoval all this money to take the field every night and let down the fans as well as his teammates, it would make far more sense to pay him to leave Boston and go somewhere else. Anywhere else. Whether it’s Sandoval being sent to Pawtucket or back to his homeland of Venezuela, his dismissal from the Major League team will allow the Red Sox to give other players the chance to prove that they are the one who will put an end to the Sox curse at the hot corner.
Before form your own opinion on how you think the Red Sox should handle this situation, just ask yourself this: What does Pablo Sandoval contribute to this team? He contributes to the team error total (5 out of the team's 47 errors), which is currently the 5th highest in the Majors. He contributes to the ever-lasting negative outlook of the Boston media. But does he contribute to the success of the team? HELL NO.
All Panda is doing is taking up space and probably emptying the clubhouse of any snacks that are put there for the players. At the beginning of the season, I said that I would give him a chance, and I did. But his last chance to succeed in Boston has come and gone. The Sox can only make up fake illnesses for so long. Eventually, they are going to have to make the easy choice and remove Pablo Sandoval from the Major League roster.
(Photo: The Game Day Report)