Boston Red Sox Report Cards: Pablo Sandoval


Now that the 2015 season is in the books, the BoSox Injection staff will hand out their final report cards, grading the performances of each member of the Boston Red Sox roster based on their expectations entering the season.

. PABLO SANDOVAL . D. . Third Baseman

2015 Stats: .245/.292/.366, 10 HR, 0 SB, 73 K, 25 BB

There were a lot of factors that contributed to the Red Sox’ third losing in four seasons, but there no bigger symbols of failure in the fans’ minds than Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. It didn’t take long for these two to become public enemy number one-A and one-B. Why is that? Because after the misery of 2014, Pablo and Hanley were given big-money contracts and brought in by Ben Cherington and company with the promise of turning things around. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sometimes it’s just a feeling you get as a fan, or a particular player just doesn’t pass the “eye test”, however a look at Sandoval’s numbers proves he wasn’t producing as he was paid to. Per Scott Lauber in the Boston Herald earlier this week: “Sandoval and Ramirez combined to hit .247 with 29 home runs, 100 RBI and a .688 OPS, and played such atrocious defense at third base and left field, respectively, that they were worth less than the value of a replacement player. Based on Fangraphs’ all-encompassing WAR metric, they ranked with Detroit’s Victor Martinez among the three worst players in the majors.”

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Sandoval won three World Series with the Giants, and while he wasn’t consistently a dominant player during his career in San Francisco, he did always play a prominent role in their success. Perhaps complacency set in, or he just wasn’t prepared for the intensity of Boston sports. Sandoval did not perform up to his potential for Boston in 2015. In seven full seasons as a major leaguer, Pablo played in his third least amount of total games (126), with his second least amount of hits (115), and the lowest amount of RBI (47), homeruns (10), runs scored (43) and even walks (25) in his career. Toss in his worst batting average, OBP, OPS and slugging percentage ever, and you literally have the worst year in his life as a major leaguer.

There were whispers and rumors heading into the season that Sandoval had left the Giants because of their concern about his weight, but when the Red Sox signed him, it was well-noted that there was no weight clause in his contract. That proved to be a mistake. His weight issues were obvious and notable throughout the season as his mobility seemed to dwindle, and he literally struggled at times to round the bases. Boston would cover for Pablo at times citing “respiratory issues” or even pneumonia, but most fans would translate that to “weight issues”, or the more-Boston take of “he’s fat and out of bloody shape”!

On top of all that baggage, Sandoval found himself in the midst of an Instagram scandal in June in which he showed his approval of a young woman’s pictures by liking them on the social media website. Seems harmless enough … unless of course it is time-stamped and comes in the middle of a game in the middle of a struggling season. Due to a team rule in regards to social media use and fan uproar, the Red Sox were forced to sit Sandoval for a game. It was a minor infraction, but one that summed up the state of a team in chaos with no real direction or leadership.

It’s obvious that the Sandoval experiment was a failure in year one. Perhaps it was impossible for Sandoval to ever live up to the expectations. He was never a superstar in San Francisco, but a solid contributor to an already well put-together squad. But I can’t help feeling that his natural pairing with Hanley has caused the desire to get him out of town. Bottom line…it’s difficult to picture a Red Sox team heading into 2016 with both as members of the team. They’re the highest paid players on the team and clearly not earning their keep. Sandoval is slated to earn himself 17-18 million dollars per year for another four seasons with the team. I don’t see how he and Hanley coexist for the full length of their contracts.

It could be just a rut he found himself in due to new surroundings, a big contract or the pressure in Boston. No matter what the cause, he has to turn it around in 2016 in order for the team to succeed at any level. The pressure is on and it’s probably in Sandoval’s best interest to drop some significant weight in the offseason. Red Sox Nation isn’t going to stand for another losing season while he gets fat and happy on the Red Sox’ dime. I don’t think all hope is lost for Sandoval, but it would truly be a miracle if he lasted the full length of his contract.

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