Boston Red Sox

The Boston media went into full-snark mode this week on Pablo Sandoval

When Pablo Sandoval cited his desire for a new challenge after signing with the Red Sox, the Bay Area turned into an echo chamber. Just about everyone said some variation of the following: “Pablo, you had it pretty danged easy. If you let your weight fluctuate the way you did throughout your time here, the Boston media is going to dice you up.”

Sandoval looked so happy on the day of his press conference, posing with a panda mascot and insisting that he would keep playing third base as long as he wore a Red Sox uniform. As one of the best clutch hitters in baseball, and with the backing of Red Sox legend David Ortiz, Sandoval had confidence that he could handle the Boston pressure cooker.

Later, he would rip the Giants for how they treated him. When the Red Sox came to Oakland, he told Amy Gutierrez that he left San Francisco because “I just want to be me.” In other words, the Giants were a little too worried about his weight, and he wanted the freedom to eat and work out as he chose.

The Giants pursued Sandoval, and were apparently willing to go over the five-year, $95 million pact he inked with the Red Sox. Sandoval never wanted to return, and maybe the Giants knew that all along. Regardless … boy oh boy, did they get lucky. They traded for Casey McGehee, another out of shape third baseman who was on pace to ground into 70 double plays when the Giants finally pulled the plug. Then they gave the job to Matt Duffy, who, against all odds and while learning a new position, has outperformed Sandoval in every way imaginable.

  • Duffy: .304/.344/.465, 9 HR, 4 SB (0 CS), 128 OPS+, 46 RBI, 3.3 rWAR, 3.2 fWAR
  • Sandoval: .260/.307/.379, 8 HR, 0 SB, 88 OPS+, 34 RBI, -0.6 rWAR, -1.0 fWAR

It’s been a rough season for the Red Sox (45-58, last place in the AL East), and this week was particularly grueling for Sandoval — and not because he got caught liking Instagram photos in the clubhouse this time, either. Thanks to several strange incidents on the field, Sandoval’s poor play since joining the team, and the looming trade deadline, the beat writers seemed to reach their collective breaking point. So did Red Sox manager John Farrell. Here’s a look.





And here’s where Sandoval hits rock bottom.

If the Red Sox were interested in punishing Sandoval, a trade to San Diego — where Giants fans routinely pack Petco Park when the two teams meet — would be a perfect result.

The San Diego Padres made a hard run at Sandoval early in his free agency, but he never seriously considered them, he said. For that, the Padres have only one thing to blame, and it was out of their control: geography. “I wanted to get out of the NL West,” Sandoval said. “If I had gone to San Diego, it would have been crazy when we played San Francisco.” Given that the Giants and Padres play 19 times annually, that was going to be too much crazy for the Panda.

Luckily for Sandoval, the Padres are sellers at this point and would never consider such a move. Even at his current conditioning level, Sandoval would surely rather sweat it out in Boston than deal with Giants fans 76 times over the next four years.

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