THANK GOD. PRAISE THE LORD. HALLELUJAH. THE DAY HAS FINALLY COME.
The Red Sox have finally released third baseman Pablo Sandoval. After DFAing him five days ago, the news broke late this afternoon that Sandoval was released. And with that concludes the Panda’s era in Boston.
It was quite the eventful one. About two and a half years of booted errors, constant injuries, and belts being busted. All in all, it was one of the biggest busts in current day baseball.
Sandoval signed a five year, $95 million contract before the 2015 season, coming off of a record breaking postseason with the Giants, setting the record for most postseason hits with 26. It was the Giants’ third World Series win in five years, where Sandoval was named MVP in 2012 and heavily contributed in 2014. Boston couldn’t have been more excited to bring a power hitting, switch hitter to Boston to lock up the third base spot, who also had a history of being dominant in October. However, what followed was a disaster.
In 2015, Sandoval hit .245 with only 10 home runs and 47 RBIs, all of which were career lows for Sandoval. There were many questions surrounding the Red Sox management, as Sandoval’s dismal season was also paired with Hanley Ramirez’s headache of a season in his return to Boston. Both offseason acquisitions had much below average performances, and given the amount of money that the Red Sox put into the two, it looked like it was a bust for the both of them.
When 2016 rolled around, an overweight Sandoval showed up to training camp in Fort Myers, and the critics bellowed again. Sandoval was the laughing stock of the Sox, and rightfully so. He didn’t look healthy, and after a subpar first season, it only reassured to the fans that Sandoval’s signing was a poor one. He was beat out for the starting third base position by Travis Shaw, and Sandoval saw six, I repeat SIX, plate appearances total for the season. He was shut down for shoulder surgery in early April and didn’t see the field again for the rest of the year. Oh, and those six at-bats? 0-5 with four strikeouts and a walk.
In the offseason before the 2017 season, the Red Sox announced that they traded Travis Shaw to the Brewers for reliever Tyler Thornburg. With that in mind, it would seem that the Red Sox felt confident enough in Sandoval’s rehab and that he would be the starting third baseman for them. Sandoval looked a bit more healthy than he did before, and management guaranteed that he was ready for the season. Well, he might’ve been able to go on the field and throw a baseball, but he was NOT ready.
Sandoval was under performing yet again. He wasn’t reliable at third base and he was hitting .213. A knee sprain put him on the DL at the end of April, which sidelined him for about a month. In that time, Josh Rutledge was activated from the DL and took over at third. By the end of May, Sandoval was rehabbing in Pawtucket, showing small improvements in his knee. He was slated to be have a designated hitter sort of role, but when Dustin Pedroia went down with an injury, the Red Sox recalled Sandoval on May 30 to be on the 25 man roster. Sandoval was rushed back onto the roster, and as a result, was performing poorly and continued to see limited playing time. He typically only saw plate appearances against right handed hitters. Devin Marrero had taken over at third and was playing well enough to keep Sandoval on the bench. On June 20, Sandoval was placed on the 10-day DL with an ear infection. He was then getting ready for a rehab assignment in July in Pawtucket when he was DFA'd. And finally, on July 19, he was released.
It was a sad career here in Boston for Pablo. His only true accomplishments were pictures of his fat belly hanging out used as jokes on social media. It was a bust from the start. Money that was sitting on the bench or on the DL. And lots of it. I can’t imagine any other team will look to sign him. He saw his prime in San Francisco. Perhaps a team in the American League that is willing to sign him to fill a DH role. But thank goodness, the Panda will never wear a Red Sox jersey again.