Red Sox: The Sandoval Struggle

Sep 11, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

With a disappointing 2015 season, what can Red Sox Nation expect from third baseman, Pablo Sandoval?

From liking photos on Instagram in the dugout during games to not playing because he had an upset stomach, Pablo Sandoval has a chance to redeem himself and actually contribute to this year’s Red Sox team.

We all know the story of Pablo Sandoval in 2015. You could use a lot of words to describe him. If you used either fat, slow, mediocre, large, laughable, or overweight, I wouldn’t call you crazy. When Sandoval showed up to Spring Training in 2015, there was no question that he put on some pounds to say the least. But no one was really worried about it yet because he had shown success in San Francisco while looking a little on the heavier side.

In the first month of the 2015 season, Sandoval didn’t do THAT bad. He had a slash of .312/.398/.442. But the rest of the season was a joke. People realized sooner than he did that he shouldn’t be a switch hitter. He looked like a chicken with its head cut off when he was hitting from the right side of the plate. But near the half way point of the season, the coaches made Sandoval hit exclusively from the left side. It didn’t seem to help because in the last few months of the season, Sandoval hit closer to .200 than his weight.

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With Spring Training right around the corner, it has been said that Sandoval has lost up 25 pounds so far this offseason. You could say this is definitely a good thing because if he were to gain more weight, I would be more concerned for his health than winning baseball games. Sandoval has been through this before. After the 2013 season, people said he was overweight. Then, going into the 2014 Spring Training, he showed up much slimmer. He said he wanted to show people his maturity.

Give me a break!

After the 2014 season when Sandoval won his third World Series for San Francisco, the Red Sox gave him a contract worth $95 million. We can say that a good chunk of that money could have gone to Burger King or McDonalds because like I said before, he looked terrible going into the 2015 season. Also, if he was so “mature”, why would he be on his phone liking photos of women on Instagram during a game in the dugout? If you’re getting paid huge amounts of money, shouldn’t you at least pay attention to the game?

Ok, I’ll calm down now.

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When I was watching balls go past Sandoval at third while hitting a career worst .245/.292/.366, it made me think of how I miss all of the former greats we’ve had at the hot corner in the 21st century.

Where do I start? How about the one who helped us reverse the curse, Bill Mueller. He was the American League batting champion in 2003 and then was a key contributor the next year helping to bring a championship to Boston. Although Mueller only played 3 years in Boston, people will always remember his huge swing, all out hustle at 3rd, and consistency at the plate.

When Mueller’s career came to a close in Boston prior to the 2005 season, the Red Sox then traded for former Gold Glove winner, Mike Lowell from the Florida Marlins. Lowell didn’t disappoint to say the least. Although the Sox didn’t make the playoffs in his first season with the team in 2006, he came back next season stronger than ever. In 2007, Lowell led the Red Sox to a World Series Championship. He was an All-Star and finished 5th in the MVP voting. He had a slash of .324/.378/.501 and finished the season with a career high of 120 RBI’s. In the postseason that year, he hit .353, leading the Red Sox to their second World Series Championship in four years, and being named the World Series MVP.

Mike Lowell was always a fan favorite in Boston. But when he hung up the cleats in the 2010, Kevin “The Greek God of Walks” Youkilis, was the next person up. Youkilis was an everyday player for the Sox when Lowell was in Boston, but at first base. When Youkilis took Lowell’s spot in 2011, he was named an All-Star. Youkilis, always known to be a tough player on the field, was voted as one of the most hated players in all of baseball by his peers in 2011. In 2012, he was dealt at the trade deadline to the Chicago White Sox.

Ever since Youkils was traded, it has been a long search for an everyday third basemen. Whether it was Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Roberts, Mike Avilés, or Jed Lowrie, the Red Sox could never find the answer they were looking for.

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So here we are in 2016 where the Red Sox are 1 year into Sandoval’s contract. As of right now, he is nowhere comparable to Mueller, Lowell, or Youkilis in Boston. Maybe Sandoval will turn around after having one season in Boston and is now used to the intense atmosphere. His weight loss could definitely help him turn it around and be the player he once was in San Francisco. But one thing is for sure and that is if he has another embarrassing season like in 2015, you may not be seeing him in a Red Sox uniform in the near future.