Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Cherington's pile of dead money gets new addition in Pablo Sandoval

Alex Reimer
July 14, 2017 - 3:29 pm

Ousted Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington left two distinct legacies in Boston. One of them is the farm system he created and helped preserve, which has born fruits like Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts. 

The other is best described with these two words: “dead money.”

The Red Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment Friday, meaning they’re prepared to eat the remaining $49 million remaining on his contract. The Portly Panda’s most embarrassing season in Boston came in 2016, when he played only three games –– and broke one belt. 

With Sandoval now out of the mix, Hanley Ramirez is the only high-priced position player left over from the Ben Cherington era. He’s in the midst of a lackluster season, hitting .261 with 13 home runs and refusing to play first base on a regular basis. But in comparison to his peers, he’s been a dream. 

Next to Sandoval ($95 million) and Ramirez ($88 million), Rusney Castillo was the third-highest paid position player who Cherington brought in, inking a contract worth $72.5 million. The ex-Cuban standout is seeming destined to spend the rest of his career in Triple-A, which is where he’s been for the entirety of the season. Castillo, 30, only played in nine games with the Red Sox last year. 

But at least Castillo is still with the organization. Boston released Allen Craig last month, after he had not appeared in a big league game since 2015. Cherington acquired Craig and Joe Kelly from the Cardinals in 2014 in exchange for John Lackey. Craig collected more than $27 million from the Red Sox to hit two homers with five RBIs and a .441 OPS.

In isolation, these three flops are worth marveling at. But when you put them together, the incompetence is staggering. The Red Sox paid all three players roughly $195.5 million combined, and they combined to hit –– drum roll please –– .228/.282/.339 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI in 1,065 at-bats (courtesy of Boston Sports Info). 

Cherington deserves praise for the young core he was able to cultivate. But he should’ve just burned the Red Sox’ checkbook instead of opening it. It would have saved a lot time and frustration.