Tomase: Pablo Sandoval's time in a Red Sox uniform is almost up

John Tomase
July 12, 2017 - 11:48 am
Pablo Sandoval

Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

The Red Sox tried. Pablo Sandoval tried (no, really, he did).

But now it's over.

The Red Sox technically don't have to make a decision on Sandoval until his rehab assignment ends on Monday. But if it didn't become clear the moment he was disabled in June with an ear infection -- an injury that takes the average 6-year-old three days of Amoxicillin to overcome -- it should be now.

There's no place for him on this roster.

The Red Sox still need to address third base, but Sandoval isn't the answer. He can't hit, he can't field,  and he can't really move, which limits his usefulness to ballast on a team cruise.

Some transactions just aren't destined to pay dividends, and Pablo's five-year, $95 million contract became a sunk cost a long time ago. With Rafael Devers the third baseman of the future, and Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin doing enough defensively to make do for the time being, there's simply no point to putting Sandoval back on the field.

The frustration of manager John Farrell crystallized with each botched grounder, errant throw, or wild hack at a pitch out of the strike zone. Sandoval hurts the Red Sox at every level of the game, and it's no coincidence that the team went 10-4 right after he was removed from the starting lineup.

That continues a pattern throughout his Red Sox career. The team is 69-81 when Sandoval starts, and 221-192 when he doesn't. He is the definition of addition by subtraction.

His arrival cost former GM Ben Cherington his job, and his inevitable departure will serve as a reminder that Dave Dombrowski isn't beholden to anyone he didn't sign, especially when they're hitting .212 with a glove that projected to cost the Red Sox 34 runs over a full season, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

With Devers arriving sometime in the next year -- if not later this season -- there's simply no point in clogging the roster with Sandoval. He doesn't help the team win now, he won't help it win later, and he's nothing more than an impediment. If he's going to be cleared out to make room for Devers anyway, might as well cut that loss now.

The Red Sox gave him every opportunity to regain his job. They traded away his competition, Travis Shaw, who authored a blistering (19 HRs) first half with the Brewers. They imported no one to challenge him in spring training, unless you count Rule 5 pick Josh Rutledge. They worked with him all winter as he remade his body, and encouraged him all spring when he led the Grapefruit League in RBIs.

When he hit a three-run homer in the third game of the year, it looked like his hard work had paid off. But his average quickly plummeted, from .250 to .188 to .150 to .120 before he was injured at the end of April bending over to field a ground ball.

He returned a month later with three hits against the White Sox, but he managed just five hits thereafter before shutting it down with the flu, or an ear infection, or whatever excuse the team could find to get him off the field.

There's now no doubt they're better without him, and that's with Marrero batting .225 and Lin presumably playing well over his head. Third base will need to be addressed in the coming month, whether it's via trade (and as an aside, if someone can explain how a team intent on not topping the luxury tax threshold intends to assume roughly $30 million of mediocre Martin Prado, I'm all ears) or Devers' surprise promotion.

Whatever the Red Sox decide, there's no reason to consider Panda an option.

They gave him his chance, and it's over.

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