Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval, once thought of as a prized free agent acquisition, will begin the 2016 season on the bench, manager John Farrell announced on Thursday.
John Farrell says that Travis Shaw is the #RedSox third baseman. Pablo Sandoval to the bench. Met with both players this morning.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) March 31, 2016
Instead of Sandoval, Travis Shaw gets the nod as Boston’s Opening Day third baseman. The news is just the latest twist in what has been a rather tumultuous Red Sox tenure for Sandoval thus far.
“If it’s the right decision to help the team win, I’m going to be happy,” Sandoval said, via the Boston Globe. “I’m going to be ready for the bench. I’ll get ready for everything in the season and do my job.”
Sandoval hit just .245 last season, the lowest average of his career. He totaled 10 home runs, and 47 RBI’s. Needless to say, that production doesn’t match his salary.
Sandoval is set to make $17 million this season, in the second year of a five-year, $95 million deal he signed with Boston before the 2015 season. It’s telling, though, that the Red Sox aren’t letting Sandoval’s paycheck determine his playing time.
Sandoval was signed by Ben Cherington, who is no longer with the team. Dave Dombrowski now runs the show in Boston, and the Red Sox are showing they aren’t afraid to bench a player with a high salary, especially one that the new front office regime doesn’t necessarily have ties to.
There have also been rumors that the San Diego Padres may have interest in Sandoval, after they sent a scout to watch him play in a Minor League game. San Diego was one of the team’s to offer Sandoval a contract when he was a free agent, but he chose Boston instead. At this point, it seems unlikely that Sandoval will be traded.
Boston’s new starter, Shaw, was selected in the ninth round of the 2011 draft. Shaw, 25, made his Major League debut with the Red Sox last season, appearing in 65 games. Shaw actually out-homered Sandoval last season, hitting 13 to Sandoval’s 10, despite Sandoval playing in 61 more games.
Of Shaw’s 65 appearances last season, he played in eight games at third base, and started five.