Pablo Sandoval is a toxic, over-paid, overweight free-agent signing who symbolizes what Ben Cherington did wrong in 2014. It is not these three reasons that matter, however, it is the three players behind him who are are his opposite:
- Brock Holt
- Travis Shaw
- Devin Marrero
These three talented infielders belong on the Red Sox this season, because they are eager, team-oriented, and valuable at multiple positions. None of these reasons apply to Sandoval.
Travis Shaw has done nothing but hit with power and consistency since he came up from the Minors last season. He hits to all fields, with power toward the Green Monster when he gets the outside pitch. He has been competent at both first and third base, giving the Red Sox a left-handed option in their line-up.
Brock Holt is another left-handed option, and his work at seven different positions is well-known. He is a savvy player who can bunt and take a walk when it’s needed, and he hustles like no one but Pedroia.
Devin Marrero is a talented shortstop who can play the whole infield, and he is a right-handed bat. He has come to Spring Training with determination to make the team for at least three years, and this is probably his year to go to some Major League team. It should be the Red Sox, because he is from their Farm system, and he has the defensive tools Sandoval lacks.
With these options on their bench, the Red Sox should feel confident of off-loading the unhappy Sandoval. He could get a fresh start on a team that values him, and the Red Sox could purge their clubhouse of his angry vibe. They could trade for a valuable pitching prospect that might need development for a year or two.
Loyalty, versatility, and hustle should be celebrated, along with talent. The Red Sox can celebrate three such players, if they only trade the one who fails in them.