— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 1, 2016
In news that shouldn’t surprise many, The Boston Red Sox manager, John Farrell, announced today that second-year-stud Travis Shaw will start the season at third base; relegating Pablo Sandoval and his bloated $17.6 Million yearly salary to the bench. For you math aficionados out there, that means Boston will pay the Pudgy Panda $10,744.81 per inning to sit in the dugout and eat candy/beef jerky. If he can somehow keep from getting even lazier and bigger, Pablo will rake in $70,400 per juicy pound on his not-so-svelte frame.
With the emergence of Shaw, and an abysmal first season in Boston last year hitting a mere .245/.292/.366 with only 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games (not to mention 15 errors), all signs pointed to Panda needing a big bounceback campaign in 2016. So when he showed up to camp this spring overweight and seemingly nonplussed by the threat of reduced playing time, the writing was on the wall for change.
Good for the Red Sox and Farrell for bucking the trend of having to play your highest-paid “stars” no matter the cost. From the front office to the bench, Boston is sending a clear message that they’re ready to win now, and willing to give playing time to the players that give them the best chance to succeed, no matter the cost.
Given MLB’s guaranteed contract structures, there isn’t any real incentive for Pablo to work harder and improve his chances at more field time. He’s going to get paid regardless, why do anything differently? All the snacks he can eat, plus a really awesome seat to 162 baseball games, with minimal injury risk? Hell, sign me up!
At this point, it would behoove Boston to trade Sandoval away for whatever/whomever they can get and wash their hands of the situation. They have plenty of talented, Major League-ready talent that can plug the hole left in Panda’s absence.