Red Sox Third Baseman Pablo Sandoval will not succeed until he proves he cares
After a terrible 2015 season, one would think that Pablo Sandoval would come into spring training in 2016 with a better mindset. Yet, he admitted to reporters that he did not try to lose weight this offseason despite his heaviness being a huge issue throughout his MLB career. Even if Pablo did work on his conditioning during the winter months, fans and reporters were not convinced any effort was put in after seeing that unflattering picture of Sandoval’s belly taken during spring camp. To the public, it seems as though not much has change.
Because his weight has been an issue for many years both with the San Francisco Giants and now with the Red Sox, some have pointed to an eating disorder as the main culprit of Sandoval’s chubbiness. Recently, San Francisco Giants’ broadcaster Mike Krukow spoke to the press about Sandoval and his weight. Even though Krukow expressed his love to the Panda, he did state that it is obvious that Sandoval has an eating disorder. Pablo just has no control when it comes to food.
Additionally, as BoSox Injection’s writer Rick McNair explained, Sandoval’s ability as ballplayer due to his weight is not the only concerning factor. Pablo’s questionable character and disrespect for the game is disgraceful. In 2015, Pablo publicly bashed his former team, stirred up a social media scandal after Instagramming during a game, and was even categorized as a jerk by some media outlets. Now, he has shown up to spring training this year seemingly not caring that he did not lose weight this offseason. This was final straw for Red Sox nation for one fan recently asked Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy to take Pablo back.
Unfortunately, Sandoval’s rough start to 2016 will only get worse when the regular season begins. Because Pablo does not care what the public thinks of him, he will not try to better himself for this upcoming year. He thinks that his playing style — including his heftiness — suits him just fine. Sadly, it appears as though Sandoval does not care for himself, others or the game of baseball. If the work he supposedly completed this offseason does not immediately show that his skills have improved from last year, Pablo will lose his job at third at some point this upcoming season.
The only issue with demoting Pablo is that there are limited options when it comes to replacing him at third base. Even though Brock Holt is the backup third baseman on the Sox depth chart, he is more valuable to the team as a utility player. Thus, that leaves rookie Travis Shaw to cover third should Pablo lose his starting fielding position.
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Shaw may not be a bad choice for the Red Sox. Even though his MLB debut was a bit shaky, he quickly gained his footing showing both offensive power and defensive versatility. Shaw may have only played in eight games at third base for Boston in 2015, but he spent a good amount of time at third during his minor league career. Shaw just needs some more time at this position in the big leagues in order to get more comfortable at this higher playing level.
It is also interesting to note that when comparing the two players, Shaw outperformed Sandoval offensively. Shaw only played in 65 MLB games in 2015 yet he collected 13 homers and 36 RBI. He ended the year with a .274 BA. On the other hand, Sandoval appeared in 126 games, but only hit 10 home runs and 47 RBI. His 2015 batting average was .245 – the lowest in his major league career.
Additionally, after the 2015 season, the President of Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, told the media that if Shaw continues to be successful during the 2016 season, a spot will be made for him on the roster. Perhaps Boston was already reflecting on Sandoval’s horrendous year and decided to quickly put together a backup plan should Sandoval flop again in 2016. Their backup plan could be Travis Shaw.
Hopefully Sandoval will be on short leash this season. If he struggles as much as he did in 2015 this upcoming year, the Red Sox should look at alternative options for third base. Shaw will be waiting in the wings for any opportunity to earn an everyday starting role. If Pablo does not change his approach to the game or his attitude, it is possible he may no longer be the Red Sox starting third baseman when the 2016 season concludes.