A 5-year, $95 million mistake is how Marly Rivera describes Pablo Sandoval’s time in Boston with the Red Sox in a featured piece for ESPN.
And truthfully, that’s exactly how most look at the situation with the “Kung Fu Panda” after his dreadful time in Boston.
Over a three year span that was littered with injury, Sandoval didn’t come close to living up to expectation after the Red Sox brought him on board in 2015. Throughout those three seasons, he’d play in just 161 games where he put up a slash line of .237/.286/.360. The power was seemingly non-existent too, hitting just 14 home runs while wearing a Red Sox uniform.
During his time in Boston, there were many fans who speculated and accused Sandoval of simply not caring about the game after he landed such a large paycheck following three World Series titles during his first stint with San Francisco. From 2015-2017, his weight fluctuated, much like it did over his time with the Giants. And as his statistics previously mentioned illustrate, there wasn’t enough production to shield him from criticism regarding his weight.
As Rivera writes, Sandoval admitted that being let go by the Red Sox during the 2017 season “hurt”.
“Being let go by the Red Sox hurt, especially because I was coming back from an injury and going through so many things in my life. I am a person who loves this sport. This is my passion. Besides my family, there is nothing I love more, and baseball has given me many blessings.”
But overall, looking back at it now, he calls his time in Boston a “learning experience”.
“The truth is that it was a great organization, and I have nothing against [the Red Sox]. And the fans, they are demanding, they want to see their players contribute. They want to see the best of them. And I learned from that… And, of course, lots of comments were made. I was mocked many times for my weight, but I learned to use all that as inspiration and as a learning experience.”
Sandoval endured a lot of scrutiny when he manned third base for the then manager John Farrell. In Boston especially, when an athlete is handed a lucrative deal, they’re then placed under a microscope and if you don’t reach expectation, they’ll certainly let you hear about it.
And unfortunately for him, his weight was the punchline to a lot of jokes because it was an easy target. But he’s seemed to find a home again with San Francisco after Boston decided that the best move for them was to eat the remaining part of his salary. This season alone the Red Sox have paid him a massive $18,445,000 which for them is nothing but dead money.