The Boston Red Sox traded away Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada, making it seem as though Pablo Sandoval is a lock for the third baseman job. But it’s not going to be that simple.
Red Sox manager John Farrell joined WEEI’s “Trenni and Tomase Show” on Sunday, and one of the topics they talked about was Sandoval’s return to the team after missing almost the entire 2016 season recovering from shoulder surgery. And Farrell didn’t downplay how much of a challenge that will be for the 30-year-old third baseman.
“No one’s going to say the first two years of Pablo’s tenure in Boston have gone well,” Farrell said, per WEEI.com. “That’s obvious. … Pablo’s mindset is almost a redemption approach. It feels like he’s got to make it up to his teammates and the fans of Boston here.”
Sandoval already has slimmed down, and he admitted in an interview with ESPN that he wants to turn his career around after getting “complacent” in the first two years of his five-year, $95 million contract, during which he batted .242 with just 10 home runs and 47 RBIs over 129 games. Sandoval will need to make a bigger offensive impact than that now that David Ortiz is retired, but Farrell was quick to remind WEEI that there still are other options at third base if need be.
“We’re not asking him to go out and be something he wasn’t prior to the signing of that contract,” Farrell said. “If he gets back to that level — and let’s face it, he’s going to have to go out and earn the job back, because Brock Holt is here, we did go out and pick up Josh Rutledge, who was a quality utility bat prior to the injury last year. We’ll see what transpires the rest of the offseason.”
Farrell’s words aren’t necessarily an empty threat, either. The Boston manager awarded the starting third base job to Shaw coming out of spring training last season.
Farrell already has been witness to two career resurgences as Boston’s skipper, with starter John Lackey helping to lead the Red Sox to a World Series win in 2013 and Hanley Ramirez bouncing back to turn in a 30-plus home run, 100-plus RBI season in 2016. He’ll certainly be hoping to see a third with Sandoval in 2017.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images