Red Sox: Pablo Sandoval says he has ‘nothing to prove’

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 /

Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval defiantly claims he has nothing to prove following a season that only he fails to see as a disappointment.

Year two of Pablo Sandoval in a Boston Red Sox uniform is already starting out worse than the last one.

While position players aren’t technically mandated to report to Spring Training until Tuesday, Sandoval strolled into camp on Sunday well behind the majority of his teammates, some of whom have been working out in Fort Myers for over a week. He’s not late, but one might expect that a player coming off of a down season would be eager to get some extra work in.

Not Sandoval, who seems to be the only person that doesn’t consider last season to be a disappointment. He posted career lows in just about every significant category while sporting a sub-.300 on-base percentage and butchering his position at third base. How is that not a disappointment?

The results were brutal for any player, let alone one making the salary Sandoval “earns.” Instead of hitting like the All-Star caliber player the Red Sox thought they were getting, he essentially poured gasoline on a pile of owner John Henry’s money and lit it on fire.

He says he’s not worried about his numbers, only about wins, while pointing out that his production was dropping even while he was winning championships with the San Francisco Giants. It’s great if he wants to prioritize team success over his own statistics, but the Red Sox finished last in their division in 2015 in large part due to veterans like Sandoval failing to live up to expectations.

Despite those struggles, a defiant Sandoval claims he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.

"“No, I don’t got nothing to prove,” Sandoval told reporters, per WEEI’s John Tomase. “I just prepare myself to perform well, for my teammates to perform well, to try to get to the World Series. That’s what I’m doing.”"

Preparing himself to perform well apparently doesn’t include shedding much of the excess weight he carried around last year. Sandoval insists that the Red Sox never asked him to lose weight, which contradicts what others in the organization have been saying all winter. Manager John Farrell would later clarify that the team didn’t assign a specific weight goal and merely asked that he come back to camp in better overall condition. That sounds like the nice way of saying that he needed to lose weight, but Sandoval clearly didn’t take the hint.

More from Red Sox News

Sandoval isn’t worried about what the numbers on the scale tell him, claiming that his focus is on becoming a better athlete. Wouldn’t shedding a few pounds help his athleticism? Sandoval had been about an average defensive player at third base throughout his career, earning the Kung Fu Panda nickname with surprising agility for a man his size. Last year his range seemed more limited, resulting in a carer low -11 defensive runs saved that put him at the bottom of the league at his position.

Sandoval also reiterated what his manager reported earlier this week about his intention to return to switch-hitting. His right-handed swing looked a lot better from what was observed from his batting practice session, but it’s a bit of a concern that he hasn’t taken any swings from the left side all winter. The right side is where he needed the most work, so it makes sense that he would put more emphasis on that, but it’s not as if he was lighting it up hitting from the left side last year. Would it have hurt to take a few cuts from that side of the plate while he was at it?

He certainly didn’t endear himself to fans with his production during his first season in Boston and Sandoval isn’t doing himself any favors by showing a lack of remorse over the part he played in this team becoming a sinking ship that landed in the basement of the AL East. He and Hanley Ramirez were the two prized free agent signings entering camp at this time last year, but the two of them quickly became the poster children for everything that went wrong with this team.

This is the time of year where most players claim to be in the best shape of their lives, yet Sandoval is essentially doing the opposite. He may not be saying all the right things, but Red Sox fans will quickly forget as long as he starts doing the right things to deliver a solid season. We just haven’t seen it yet, which makes it awfully hard to believe.

Next: Henry Owens needs 2016 to be big

Sandoval claims he has nothing to prove this season, but what he really needs to do is prove that he cares enough about the team signing his paychecks to put in the work that is needed to salvage his career.