“Pablo Sandoval is a toxic, over-paid, overweight free-agent signing who symbolizes what Ben Cherington did wrong in 2014.”
Almost exactly a year ago I made these observations about Pablo Sandoval, and I’ll stand by them. But then I took the next leap and urged that the hefty Sandoval be traded. In retrospect I was wrong about that, and the Red Sox were right.
Or maybe the Red Sox were stuck with Sandoval’s contract, so they didn’t make the recommended move. Either way, Sandoval has proven me wrong by losing weight and coming to Spring Training in good shape. He has competed for his third base role like a rookie with everything to prove. He has shown discipline at the plate and in the field, and for my money, has won back his job.
A year ago I declared that his position could be handled better by :
- Brock Holt
- Travis Shaw
- Devin Marrero
Holt remains a good left-handed option at third base, but he is most valuable because he can play everywhere else. He is cursed with such versatility that it is almost impossible to view him as an every-day player.
Travis Shaw is in Milwaukee, and he did not perform in the clutch last year as he had in the previous year. He is now represented by the bullpen acquisition of Tyler Thornburg.
Devin Marrero appears to have peaked. His hitting is still sub-par, and his fielding is steady, if not spectacular. If he doesn’t make the team this spring, and likely he won’t, he will probably be offered as trade bait.
Thus a year later, Sandoval is the best option at third base, and my words are on today’s menu— a dish best served cold. In spite of the unsavory cuisine, I salute the Panda, because redemption is a dish best served with forgiveness. I’m glad for second chances for the Panda and for me.